Don’t Hold your Breath: New York’s Cuomo will make Reverse Mortgage reform a priority — really?

Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers are finally making reverse-mortgage foreclosure reform a priority this year — following continuing coverage of a crisis by The Post.

Last week, the governor announced plans to provide reverse-mortgage holders the right to a mandatory foreclosure settlement conference with their lender, overseen by the court, just as traditional mortgage borrowers have, and to update regulations to prevent reverse-mortgage foreclosures.

The governor announced these measures amid a raft of new proposals in his State of the State speeches. His reverse-mortgage proposals have similar intent as legislation introduced last year by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and state Sen. Jeff Klein in the wake of a July report by The Post about a dramatic spike in foreclosures on reverse mortgages — risky home-equity loans made to senior citizens.

“Attention has been focused, by The Post particularly, highlighting some tragic situations individuals found themselves in, and it has really bumped the problem of reverse-mortgages to one of the top agenda items as we go into the legislative session,” Weinstein said.

Reverse-mortgage loans were created to allow seniors to tap equity in their homes without selling, but have turned into a nightmare for legions of New Yorkers, including Howard Beach homeowner Frederick Feil. Last July, The Post covered Feil’s struggles with his lender, Finance of America Reverse, and servicer, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, to allow him to catch up on payments missed due to illness, and keep his home.

After the story, Finance of America Reverse worked out a deal with Feil and his attorney at JASA Legal Services for the Elderly. His loan has been reinstated and he is up-to-date on property tax payments, but Feil says he’s still in foreclosure hell because Reverse Mortgage Services has not officially discontinued the foreclosure.

“You get nervous wondering what’s going on, is it settled or not? Until I get complete paperwork in my hand … the mortgage company is still driving me nuts,” Feil said.

A spokeswoman for Finance of America Reverse said she expects the necessary paperwork to be completed “in the very near future.” Reverse Mortgage Solutions did not respond to a request for comment.

Klein is drafting other bills aimed at better regulating marketing and origination of reverse mortgages, and improving default procedures. Both he and Weinstein are working on legislation to provide seniors with clear, comprehensive information before they take out reverse mortgages.

With the governor’s support, stronger protections for reverse-mortgage holders — which failed to pass last year — are likely to finally become law. But it’s unclear who will underwrite free legal services like the ones JASA provides once money from the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement — a major source of nonprofit foreclosure-prevention and assistance funds — runs out this fall.

While legislative efforts heat up, the New York State Department of Finance continues its probe of Reverse Mortgage Solutions and Champion’s reverse-mortgage operations in New York state, launched after The Post’s story last July.

Wells Fargo Skewered by Federal Judge For Forgery as a Pattern of Conduct

For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688



What I like about the Federal Judge decisions is that they express the reasons for their orders and judgments with much greater specificity than State Court judges tend to do — probably because they have a lighter case load and when they get promoted it can go pretty high (like the US Supreme Court). So it should come as no surprise that a New York Federal Bankruptcy Judge issued a 30 page opinion that essentially said what people have been saying since 2007 — the entire foreclosure process is an exercise in illegal patterns of conduct to the detriment of the homeowners. Since he also made clear that the debt remains, we have yet to get a definitive opinion from a Judge that questions whether the original closing was valid and enforceable. for that we still need to wait.

But by ruling on the specifics of how to rebut presumptions that are used in cases involving negotiable instruments, this Court has definitely opened the door to requiring the banks to do something that he suspects and I know the banks cannot do — prove the loan transaction, and the loan transfers with actual transactions in which a purchase and sale occurred and money exchanged hands after which there was delivery of the paper. Once THAT cat is out of the bag, the banks are doomed. People are going to start asking the question they have been asking for years — except this time it won’t be a rhetorical question: “If the originator didn’t loan the money then who did? And if there was no consideration for the transfer of the loan documents then whose money was used to originate or acquire the loan?” The answers will surprise even veterans of this war.

see franklin-opinion


The debtor herein (the “Debtor”) has objected to a claim filed in this case by Wells Fargo Bank,

NA (“Wells Fargo”), Claim No. 1‐2, dated September 29, 2010 (amending Claim No. 1‐1), on the basis that Wells Fargo is not the holder or owner of the note and beneficiary of the deed of trust upon which the claim is based and therefore lacks standing to assert the claim.1 This Memorandum of Decision states the Court’s reasons, based on the record of the trial held on December 3, 2013 and the parties’ pre‐ and post‐trial submissions, for granting the Claim Objection….

(i) how could Wells Fargo or Freddie Mac assert a claim under the Note when the Note was neither specifically indorsed to either of them nor indorsed in blank (and was specifically indorsed to ABN Amro, although ABN Amro had subsequently assigned its interest therein to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA), and (ii) how could Wells Fargo properly assert any rights under the July 12, 2010 Assignment of Mortgage when the person who signed the Assignment of Mortgage from MERS in its capacity “as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA” to Wells Fargo was an employee of Wells Fargo (as well as of MERS),3 and there was no evidence that Washington Mutual Bank, FA authorized MERS to assign…….

if Freddie Mac was the owner of the loan, as both Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac contended, why was Claim No. 1‐1 filed by Wells Fargo not as Freddie Mac’s agent or servicer, but, rather, in its own name? (The ownership/agency issue had practical as well as possible legal consequences because counsel for Wells Fargo contended that Freddie Mac guidelines precluded Wells Fargo from considering loan modification proposals for the Debtor.)….

the parties engaged in discovery disputes that resulted in an order compelling the deposition of John Kennerty, who by then no longer worked for Wells Fargo, see Kennerty v. Carrsow‐Franklin (In re Carrsow‐Franklin), 456 B.R. 753 (Bankr. D. S.C. 2011), and Wells Fargo’s production of a woefully unqualified initial Rule 30(b)(6) witness…..

Wells Fargo responded that it did not need to be the owner of the loan in order to enforce the Note and a secured claim for amounts owing under it. Instead, Wells Fargo relied, under Texas’ version of Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code (the “U.C.C.”), solely on being the “holder” of the Note indorsed in blank by ABN Amro that appeared for the first time as an attachment to Claim No. 1‐2.7…

In a bench ruling on March 1, 2012, memorialized by an order dated May 21, 2012, the Court agreed with Wells Fargo, concluding that, under Texas law, if Wells Fargo were indeed the holder of the Note properly indorsed in blank by ABN Amro, Wells Fargo could enforce the Note and the Deed of Trust even if it was not the owner or investor on the Note or properly assigned of Deed of Trust,8 citing SMS Fin., Ltd. Liab. Co. v. ABCO Homes, Inc., 167 F.3d 235, 238 (5th Cir. 1999) (under Texas law, “[t]o recover on a promissory note, the plaintiff must prove: (1) the existence of the note in question; (2) that the party sued signed the note; (3) that the plaintiff is the owner or holder of the note; and (4) that a certain balance is due and owing on the note”) (emphasis added), and In re Pastran, 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 2237, ….

Perhaps wary of relying on an assignment by the assignee to itself without authorization by the purported assignor, Wells Fargo has waived reliance on the July 12, 2010 Assignment of Mortgage to establish its right to assert Claim No. 1‐2, looking only to its status as a holder of the Note. It indeed appears that Mr. Kennerty’s signature on the Assignment of Mortgage was improper in either of his capacities, as an officer of Wells Fargo or as an officer of MERS, without further authorization from Washington Mutual Bank, FA, because ABN Amro assigned MERS the Deed of Trust solely in MERS’ capacity as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA, without the power of foreclosure and sale in its own right and not for its own successors and assigns as well as Washington Mutual Bank, FA’s; and MERS (through Mr. Kennerty) executed the Assignment of Mortgage solely as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA. Compare Kramer v. Fannie Mae, 540 Fed. Appx. 319, 320 (5th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 1310, 188 L. Ed. 2d 305 (2014) (MERS could assign deed of trust made out to it that specifically granted MERS the power to foreclose and assign its rights); Silver Gryphon, L.L.C. v. Bank of Am. NA, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168950, at *11‐12 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 7, 2013) (same); Richardson v. CitiMortgage, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123445, at *3, *13‐14 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 22, 2010) (same), and Nueces County v. MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93424, at *20 (S.D. Tex. July 3, 2013); In re Fontes, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 1792, at *11‐13 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. Apr. 22, 2011); and In re Weisband, 427 B.R. 13, 20 (Bankr. D. Az. 2010) (MERS as mere “nominee” of mortgage holder lacks power to transfer enforceable mortgage)…..

Because it is undisputed that (a) the Debtor signed the Note (and received the loan proceeds)11 and (b) a properly recorded lien on the Property secures the Debtor’s obligation under the Note (albeit that Wells Fargo does not rely independently on the Deed of Trust assigned to ABN AMRO and then

10 See Supplement to Emergency Motion to Reopen and for Leave to Propound Additional Discovery to Defendant for Additional Evidence Withheld Prior to Trial, dated March 11, 2014.

11 See Trial Tr. at 95‐6 (testimony of the Debtor).


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assigned to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA (none of which has filed a proof of claim) or the Assignment of Mortgage to sustain its claim), the only issue addressed by the parties is whether Wells Fargo has standing to enforce the Note, and, thus, assert Claim No. 1‐2.12 This is because, as stated above, Texas follows the majority rule that “[w]hen a mortgage note is transferred, the mortgage or deed of trust is also automatically transferred to the note holder by virtue of the common‐law rule that ‘the mortgage follows the note.’” Campbell v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 4030, at *11‐12 (Tex. App. Austin May 18, 2012), quoting J.W.D., Inc. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 806 S.W.2d 327, 329‐30 (Tex. App. Austin 1991). See also Kiggundu v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 469 Fed. Appx. 330, 332; Richardson v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177471, at *13 n.4 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 21, 2014); Nguyen v. Fannie Mae., 958 F. Supp. 2d 781, 790 n.11 (S.D. Tex. 2013); Trimm v. U.S. Bank., N.A., 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 7880, at *14 (Tex. App. Fort Worth July 17, 2014)…..

Wells Fargo’s right to enforce the Note, and thus its standing to assert Claim No. 1‐2, derives from the Note’s status as a negotiable instrument under Texas’ version of the U.C.C. See Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 3.104(a). The Debtor has not disputed that the Note is negotiable, and the Note in any event satisfies the requirements of a negotiable instrument under Texas law, as it is “an unconditional promise . . . to pay a fixed amount of money . . . payable to . . . order at the time it [was] issued; . . . payable . . . at a definite time; and does not state any other undertaking or instruction by the person promising or ordering payment to do any act in addition to the payment of money” except as permitted by the statute. Id. See also Farkas v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190194, at *6‐7 (W.D. Tex. June 22, 2012), aff’d, 544 Fed. Appx. 324 (5th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 628, 187 L. Ed. 411

12 One might argue, although Wells Fargo has not, that the parties’ pre‐bankruptcy course of dealing, including the Loan Modification Agreement signed by the Debtor on February 12, 2008 and attached to Claim No 1‐2 (See also Trial Tr. at 96‐104), would independently support Wells Fargo’s right to assert Claim No. 1‐2; however, if the blank ABN Amro indorsement were forged, the Loan Modification Agreement and course of dealing would ultimately improperly derive from Wells Fargo’s fraudulent assertion of the right to enforce the Note and Deed of Trust.


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(2013); Steinberg v. Bank. of Am., N.A., 2013 Bankr. LEXIS 2230, at *12‐14 (B.A.P. 10th Cir. May 30, 2013)…..

“The presumption rests upon the fact that in ordinary experience forged or unauthorized signatures are very uncommon, and normally any evidence is within the control of, or more accessible to, the defendant.”15 Official Comment to Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 3.308 (“Off. Cmt.”). The presumption is effectively incorporated into Fed. R. Evid. 902(9), which provides that no extrinsic evidence of authenticity is required to admit “[c]ommercial paper, a signature on it, and related documents, to the extent allowed by general commercial law,” and it is loosely analogous to the rebuttable presumption of the prima facie validity of a properly filed proof of claim under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3001(f).

While Tex. Bus. & Com. Code §§ 3.308(a) and 1.206(a) provide that the presumption of an authentic signature applies “unless and until evidence is introduced that supports a finding of nonexistence,” they do not state the quantum of evidence to overcome the presumption. The Official Comment to § 3.308, however, refers to “some evidence” and to “some sufficient showing of the grounds for the denial before the plaintiff is required to introduce evidence,” and then states, “[t]he defendant’s evidence need not be sufficient to require a directed verdict, but it must be enough to support the denial by permitting a finding in the defendant’s favor.” Off. Cmt. 1 to § 3.308.16 This suggests that the required evidentiary showing to overcome the presumption is similar to that needed to defeat a summary judgment motion: the introduction of sufficient evidence so that a reasonable trier of fact in the context of the dispute could find in the defendant’s favor. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587‐88 (1986); 11 Moore’s Fed. Prac. 3d § 56.22[2] (2014). Because of the general factual context described in the Official Comment, which recognizes that “in ordinary experience forged or unauthorized signatures are very uncommon,” Off. Cmt. 1 to § 3.308, courts have nevertheless required a significant amount of evidence to overcome the presumption. See In re Phillips, 491 B.R. 255, 273 n. 37 (Bankr. D. Nev. 2013) (“This evidence was inconclusive at best. Against this background, the court is prepared to believe that it is more likely that [the claimant] negligently failed to copy the Note and First Allonge when it filed its [first] Proof of Claim rather than it forged the First Allonge later on. In short, when both are equally likely, the court picks sloth over venality.”); see also Congress v. U.S. Bank. N.A., 98 So. 3d 1165, 1169 (Civ. App. Ala. 2012) (referring to requirement of substantial, though not clear and convincing, evidence to rebut the presumption under U.C.C. §§ 3‐308(a) and 1‐206(a), although directing trial court on remand to apply preponderance‐of‐ the‐evidence standard to whether the presumption was overcome)….

See People v. Richetti, 302 N.Y. 290, 298 (1951) (“A presumption of regularity exists only until contrary substantial evidence appears. . . . It forces the opposing party (defendant here) to go forward with proof but, once he does go forward, the presumption is out of the case.”). Thus, in In re Phillips, 491 B.R. at 273 n. 37, quoted above, if the presumption had been overcome by a preponderance of the evidence and the burden shifted and forgery and negligence were found to be equally likely, the holder of the note should lose.

Because Wells Fargo does not rely on the Assignment of Mortgage to prove its claim, the foregoing evidence is helpful to the Debtor only indirectly, insofar as it goes to show that the blank indorsement, upon which Wells Fargo is relying, was forged. Nevertheless it does show a general willingness and practice on Wells Fargo’s part to create documentary evidence, after‐the‐fact, when enforcing its claims, WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARY…..

Wells Fargo has not carried that burden. To do so, it offered only Mr. Campbell’s testimony and, through him, certain exhibits copied from Wells Fargo’s loan file. That testimony was not helpful to it. Mr. Campbell was not involved in the administration of the Debtor’s loan until he became a potential witness in 2013. Trial Tr. at 37. He was not involved in the preparation of Claim No 1‐2. Id. at 37. He had nothing to say about the circumstances under which the blank ABN Amro indorsement appeared on the Note attached to Claim No. 1‐2, with the exception that he located the earliest entry in the electronic loan file where that version of the Note was recorded, pulled up its image and compared it to the original shown him by Wells Fargo’s counsel. Id. at 33, 36, 49‐50. He was offered, therefore, only to qualify Wells Fargo’s proposed exhibits, copied from Wells Fargo’s loan file, as falling within Fed. R. Evid. 803(6)’s business records exception to a hearsay objection under Fed. R. Evid. 802 and to testify that a copy of the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement appears in Wells Fargo’s electronic records before the preparation of Wells Fargo’s initial proof of claim in this case….

In large measure, Mr. Campbell was not up to that task (and Wells Fargo offered no other evidence to meet that standard, were the Court to impose it). Mr. Campbell did not know whether there was any person overseeing the accuracy of how the records in the system were stored and maintained. Id. at 32, 40, 42‐3. He did not know who controlled access to the system or the procedure for limiting access, except to say “[A]ccess is granted as needed.” Id. at 40‐1. He did not know of any procedures for backing up or auditing the system. Id. at 42. He stated, “I am not a technology person” and was not able to answer what technology ensures the accuracy of the date and time stamping of the entry of documents into the imaging system. Trial Tr. at 22. In his deposition, he testified that he did not know whether the dates and times of the entry of documents in the system could be changed, but at trial he stated that, after his deposition, “I attempted to look into this, and, to my knowledge, I am not aware of any way to change or remove attachments into the imaging system,” id. at 43, which, given his general lack of knowledge about how the system works and failure to explain the basis for his assertion, did not inspire confidence….

Moreover, in addition to the fact that the specially indorsed version of the Note appears on its own in the file on March 27, 2007, and not as part of an “origination file,” Wells Fargo has offered no explanation, let alone evidence, of who else, if not Wells Fargo, held the original of the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement before December 28, 2009, if, in fact, such a version then existed. The file provided by the transferor should have included it, if it did exist during that period, because Washington Mutual Bank, FA would not have been able to enforce the Note, either, without the blank indorsement, and the Assignment of Deed of Trust attached to the proofs of claim states that both the Note and Deed of Trust were transferred to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA on June 20, 2002, effective November 16, 2001. In other words, why would only an outdated and unenforceable version of the Note have been logged in by Wells Fargo when it took over the file in February 2007 if the only enforceable version of the Note had in fact existed at that time (and should have existed since 2002)? The far more likely inference, instead, is that when the loan was transferred to Wells Fargo, the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement did not exist.

Why would the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement have appeared in Wells Fargo’s file only on December 28, 2009, twenty‐two months later? Wells Fargo has not provided an explanation, supported by evidence, replying only that the question is irrelevant. All that matters, Wells Fargo contends, is that the enforceable document was imaged into its records before the Debtor’s counsel started raising questions about Claim No 1‐1.



For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688


see Fund Manager’s Letter to Bondholders Detailing Sins of Ocwen

Chickens are coming home to roost. Just read the letter. Anyone who is litigating a case where Ocwen is involved in any way in the chain of title or ownership of the loan paperwork should read this in detail. This could be used as support for arguments that the books and records of the servicer or foreclosing party should not be given the luxury of certain legal presumptions. The presumption that there is in fact a servicing de fault called by the bondholders may enough to force the parties actually prove the nonexistent transactions about which their assignments and endorsements are written.

Why? That is the  question everyone should be asking. If Ocwen was not servicing for the benefit of the REMIC Trust (and the bondholders) then who are they really working for? Themselves? Or are they taking instructions from the underwriter who is also the Master Servicer that committed fraud in the first place on the investors and then on the borrowers, hiding behind the mask and layers of “originators,” “aggregators” and other conduits and sham entities? My opinion is that this is all part of the same scheme to distance themselves both from the transaction in which the bondholder gave money to the underwriter in exchange for the mortgage bonds and the “loans” that were funded not by the trust but directly from investor money that should have been given to the trust. And Ocwen’s selfish interest is to make the most out of “servicer advances” which is their cut of the pie — money that was actually advanced from investor money to pay them with their own money.

Here are some excerpts from the fund manager’s letter —

The facts establishing these Events of Default are irrefutable.  For example, Ocwen recently “stipulate[d]” and “agree[d]” in a consent order with the New York Department of Financial Services to violations of law and to engaging in imprudent servicing practices.  In addition, the California Department of Business Oversight has commenced proceedings to suspend Ocwen’s servicer license in California, a significant source of loans in the RMBS trusts that generate the advances that collateralize the payments to Noteholders.  These (and other) agencies’ findings and enforcement actions demonstrate Ocwen’s systemic, long-standing and continuing servicing failures and disregard of applicable and analogous laws.

I. Ocwen’s Violations of Law and Imprudent Servicing Practices

A. New York Investigations

Facts admitted by Ocwen establish multiple breaches of various covenants in the Transaction Documents and Designated Servicing Agreements and multiple defaults or Events of Default under the Indenture.  On December 19, 2014, Ocwen and Ocwen Financial Corporation admitted to facts that give rise to material breaches and defaults of the covenants and agreements in the above-referenced provisions.  Ocwen’s stipulations are memorialized in the Consent Order Pursuant to New York Banking Law § 44 (the “2014 Consent Order”) that Ocwen entered into with the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”).[3]  Specifically, the 2014 Consent Order sets forth numerous facts to which Ocwen has admitted

B. California Investigations

Two different California regulators have found that Ocwen violated California law.  On a webpage answering “frequently asked questions” related to Ocwen’s settlement with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and attorneys general from 49 states and the District of Columbia (discussed below), the California Attorney General states, “[w]e believe that Ocwen violated federal and state laws against unfair and deceptive practices.  Ocwen’s unlawful conduct hurt consumers who have had home loans serviced by Ocwen, Litton, and Homeward.  For example, Ocwen made consumers pay improper fees and charges, caused unreasonable delays and expenses when consumers asked for help to avoid foreclosure, and wrongly refused to give consumers loan modifications that could have helped those consumers stay in their homes.”[6]

C. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and State Attorneys General Investigation

Additionally, in December 2013, the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and the attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia filed a Complaint against Ocwen and Ocwen Financial Corporation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.[15]  The CFPB and state attorneys general alleged “violations” of (i) “state law prohibiting unfair and deceptive consumer practices with respect to loan servicing,” (ii) “state law prohibiting unfair and deceptive consumer practices with respect to foreclosure processing,” (iii) the Consumer Protection Act of 2010, 12 U.S.C. § 5481 et seq., “with respect to loan servicing,” and (iv) the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, 12 U.S.C. § 5481 et seq., “with respect foreclosure processing.”[16]  Specifically, the CFPB and the attorneys general alleged that Ocwen engaged in the following acts and practices:

D. Federal Monitor Investigation

On December 16, 2014, a monitor appointed in United States, et al. v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 12-CV-361 (D.D.C. 2012) (the “Federal Monitor”) issued the “Monitor’s Interim Report Regarding Compliance by Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC as Successor by Assignment from Defendants Residential Capital LLC, GMAC Mortgage LLC, and Ally Financial Inc. for the Measurement Periods Ended March 31, 2014 and June 30, 2014” (the “Monitor Report”).  The Monitor Report addressed, among other things, the “independence, competency and capacity” of Ocwen’s internal quality control review group (“IRG”).  (Monitor Report at 7.)  According to the Federal Monitor, IRG’s processes and procedures “lacked the critical keys to integrity mandated in the Enforcement Terms [as defined in the Monitor Report],” namely “an internal quality control group that is independent from the line of business whose performance is being measured and an internal quality control group with the appropriate authority, privileges and knowledge to effectively implement and conduct the reviews and metric assessments contemplated in the Enforcement Terms.”  (Id. at 13 (quotations omitted).)  The Federal Monitor identified a “dysfunctional and chaotic working environment” during the first half of 2014, noting “serious problems and flaws in the processes and procedures” employed by the IRG.  (Id. at 13.)  Based on these findings, the Federal Monitor notified Ocwen that the IRG had not correctly implemented the Enforcement Terms in a number of “material respects.”  (Id. at 14.)

II. The Market Reaction

The rating agencies have cited the NYSDFS’s investigation of Ocwen as a reason for their downgrading of Ocwen’s servicer rating.  The rating downgrades have increased the risk that Ocwen will be terminated as a servicer and/or subservicer.[21]  For example, in October 2014—months before Ocwen signed the 2014 Consent Order—Standard & Poor’s downgraded Ocwen’s servicer rating to “average” following a letter by the NYSDFS to Ocwen “stating that during its review of Ocwen’s mortgage servicing practices it had uncovered serious issues with Ocwen’s systems and processes, including Ocwen’s backdating of potentially hundreds of thousands of foreclosure-related letters to borrowers.”[22]  Standard & Poor’s concluded that, based on the facts uncovered in the NYSDFS investigation, Ocwen’s “internal practices and policies may not meet industry or regulatory standards.”[23]  On October 22, 2014, Moody’s also downgraded its assessments of Ocwen “as a primary servicer of subprime residential mortgage loans to SQ3 from SQ3+ and as a special servicer of residential mortgage loans to SQ3 from SQ3+.”[24]  According to Moody’s, “[t]he assessment actions follow [the NYSDFS’] allegations,” which “also raise the risk of actions that restrict Ocwen’s activities, the levying of monetary fines against Ocwen, or additional actions that negatively affect Ocwen’s servicing stability.”[25]


order NY Scheck 7 2013 fraud on the court JP-Morgan-Chase-Bank-Natl.-Assn.-v-Butler

Since the beginning of the mortgage meltdown one judge has understood the scam.  For reasons that are probably not difficult to figure out, Judge Shack’s opinions and rulings have been largely ignored across the country despite the fact that he is supported by virtually every academic source that has reviewed his decisions. The academic legal community clearly finds that Judge Shack knows what he’s talking about. And what he’s talking about is fraud.  And the fraud he is talking about has nothing to do with mortgage brokers and originators and everything to do with the megabanks.

Plaintiff CHASE, as will be explained, never owned the subject BUTLER mortgage and note. Therefore, CHASE had no right to foreclose on the subject mortgage and note. Moreover, the continued subterfuge by CHASE and its counsel to the Special Referee and Court that it owned the subject BUTLER mortgage and note demonstrated “bad faith” in violation of CPLR Rule 3408 (f), which requires that “[b]oth the plaintiff and defendant shall negotiate in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, including a loan modification, if possible.”

This case is troubling because various counsel for CHASE falsely claimed for almost two years, from January 20, 2010 until December 2011, that CHASE was the owner of the mortgage and note. Ultimately, in late 2011, after the subject mortgage had been satisfied, plaintiff CHASE’s counsel admitted, in opposition to defendant BUTLER’s October 26,

JP Morgan Chase Bank, Natl. Assn. v Butler (2013 NY Slip Op 51050(U)) Page 4 of 24

2011 order to show cause, that plaintiff CHASE did not own the BUTLER mortgage and note, but only the servicing rights to it. CHASE’s counsel, in its opposition papers, submitted an affidavit, dated December 9, 2011, from Greg De Castro, “Director- Servicing Management” of FANNIE MAE, claiming that FANNIE MAE acquired from WAMU the BUTLER Mortgage and Note and “Chase is the servicer of the loan.” Further, Mr. De Castro makes the ludicrous claim, in violation of New York law, that “[a]s Fannie Mae’s servicer, CHASE has authority to commence a foreclosure action on the Loan and to receive and/or collect the proceeds from the sale of the Property.”


Another Win and More Info on Modification

There are tons of ways of tripping the Banks in their pursuit of free houses through “foreclosure.” one of those ways is through challenging the rejection of the borrower’s proposal for modification. When it comes to U.S. Bank virtually nothing they say is true. When a bank says it fulfilled its obligation under HAMP to “consider” the proposal, most of the time it is a lie because the banks do not want a modification because each modification creates a brand new liability for them if they sold the loan multiple times.

The trick is to submit your proposal with an expert appraiser’s opinion that the proposal exceeds FMV of the property and hugely exceeds the proceeds from a foreclosure of the property which will only hurt property values again in neighborhood where the bank has other mortgages. Thus the allegation can be made that either they did not review the proposal or they did not apply reasonable standards for consideration of the modification.

What lawyers are doing is filing the motion and then demanding discovery about the ” consideration” process. Asking for what methods were used and who used them. Those cases settle often within hours of the Judge entering the order requiring the bank to respond.

Whistleblower Bangs BofA for $14.5 million in Mortgage Case

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Editor’s Comment:

Countrywide Financial Inflated Appraisals 

For people in law enforcement this is a time when it gets to be fun going after the big guys.  Being arrogant to the highest degree going into this mortgage mess you can only imagine the ego of the Titans of Wall Street after making trillions of dollars in turning the entire mortgage process on its head and reversing all common sense criteria in underwriting loans.

The rats are leaving the ship by the thousands, whether they want to or not.  There is hardly a day that goes by that some former employee of Countrywide, Bank of America, Chase, Citi or Wells Fargo does not reveal that they were under instructions to violate regulations and law.

The inflation of appraisals of the securities and the inflation of the homes themselves was the key to the success of the Wall Street plan.  This plan was devoted to sucking out as much o the liquidity in the marketplace as they could possibly achieve.  This in itself is a reversal of even the purpose of allowing Wall Street to exist.  Wall Street’s mandate is to provide liquidity in the marketplace and not taking it away.  Instead they took the equivalent of the gross domestic product of several countries combined (including the United States) and converted the proceeds to “trading profits”.

It is good that these whistleblowers are appearing and it’s even good they are making so much money.  This will encourage other whistleblowers and will encourage those attorneys who thought mortgage litigation was beneath them.  As these cases proceed we will see more and more understandable facts emerge that explain the tragic reversal of our financial model and the historic consequences to most of the major countries of the world.

Bank of America Whistleblower Receives $14.5 million in Mortgage Case

By Rick Rothacker

(Reuters) – A former home appraiser will receive $14.5 million as part of a whistleblower lawsuit that accused subprime lender Countrywide Financial of inflating appraisals on government-insured loans, his attorneys said Tuesday.

Kyle Lagow’s lawsuit sparked an investigation that culminated in a $1 billion settlement announced in February between Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and the U.S. Justice Department over allegations of mortgage fraud at Countrywide, his attorneys said in a news release. Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008.

Lagow’s suit was one of five whistleblower complaints that were folded into the $25 billion national mortgage settlement that state and federal officials reached with Bank of America and four other lenders this year. His suit was unsealed in February, but the amount of his settlement had not been disclosed.

Gregory Mackler, a whistleblower who challenged Bank of America’s handling of the government’s HAMP mortgage modification program, has also finalized a settlement, said Shayne Stevenson, an attorney with the Hagens Berman law firm, which represented both whistleblowers. Stevenson declined to comment on Mackler’s settlement amount.

The complaints were brought under a whistleblower provision in the U.S. False Claims Act, which allows private individuals with knowledge of wrongdoing to bring suits on behalf of the government and share in the proceeds of any settlement.

Both Lagow and Mackler lost their jobs after raising concerns about practices at their companies and faced difficult times awaiting settlements, Stevenson said. Lagow, who worked in a Countrywide appraisal unit, filed his suit in 2009; Mackler, who worked at a firm called Urban Lending Solutions, brought his case in 2011.

“These guys are inspirational,” Stevenson said. “They both did the right thing. They should inspire other people to come forward.”

Bank of America declined to comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, which handled the Bank of America settlement, also declined to comment.





Pensioners Will Feel the Pinch from Illegal Mortgages and Foreclosures

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Editor’s Comment:

There are many people whose opinion produces the resistance of government to rip up the banks that got us into this economic mess. They all say government is too big, that we already have too much regulation and that Obama is the cause of the recession. Their opinions are based largely on the fact that they perceive the borrowers as deadbeats and government assistance as another “handout.” 

But when it comes down to it, it’s easy to make a decision based upn ideology if the consequences are not falling on you. Read any news source and you will see that the pension funds are taking a huge hit as a rsult of illegal bank activities and fraudulent practices leaving the victims and our economy in a lurch.

The article below is about public pensions where the pension funds and the governmental units took a monumental hit when the banks sucked the life out of our economy. TRANSLATION: IF YOU DEPEND UPON PENSION INCOME YOU ARE LIKELY TO FIND OUT YOU ARE SCREWED. And even if you don’t depend upon pension income, you are likely to be taxed for the shortfall that is now sitting in the pockets of Wall Street Bankers.

Think about it. If the Banks were hit hard like they were in Iceland andother places (and where by the way they still exist and make money) then your pension fund would not have the loss that requires either more taxes or less benefits. And going after the banks doesn’t take a dime out of pulic funds which should (but doesn’t) make responsible people advocating austerity measures rejoice. They still say they don’t like the obvious plan of getting restitution from thieves because the theives are paying them and feeding them talking points. And some of us are listening. Are you?

Public Pensions Faulted for Bets on Rosy Returns

By: Mary Williams Walsh and Danny Hakim

Few investors are more bullish these days than public pension funds. While Americans are typically earning less than 1 percent interest on their savings accounts and watching their 401(k) balances yo-yo along with the stock market, most public pension funds are still betting they will earn annual returns of 7 to 8 percent over the long haul, a practice that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently called “indefensible.”

Now public pension funds across the country are facing a painful reckoning. Their projections look increasingly out of touch in today’s low-interest environment, and pressure is mounting to be more realistic. But lowering their investment assumptions, even slightly, means turning for more cash to local taxpayers — who pay part of the cost of public pensions through property and other taxes.

In New York, the city’s chief actuary, Robert North, has proposed lowering the assumed rate of return for the city’s five pension funds to 7 percent from 8 percent, which would be one of the sharpest reductions by a public pension fund in the United States. But that change would mean finding an additional $1.9 billion for the pension system every year, a huge amount for a city already depositing more than a tenth of its budget — $7.3 billion a year — into the funds.

But to many observers, even 7 percent is too high in today’s market conditions.

“The actuary is supposedly going to lower the assumed reinvestment rate from an absolutely hysterical, laughable 8 percent to a totally indefensible 7 or 7.5 percent,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a trip to Albany in late February. “If I can give you one piece of financial advice: If somebody offers you a guaranteed 7 percent on your money for the rest of your life, you take it and just make sure the guy’s name is not Madoff.” Public retirement systems from Alaska to Maine are running into the same dilemma as they struggle to lower their assumed rates of return in light of very low interest rates and unpredictable stock prices.

They are facing opposition from public-sector unions, which fear that increased pension costs to taxpayers will further feed the push to cut retirement benefits for public workers. In New York, the Legislature this year cut pensions for public workers who are hired in the future, and around the country governors and mayors are citing high pension costs as a reason for requiring workers to contribute more, or work longer, to earn retirement benefits.

In addition to lowering the projected rate of return, Mr. North has also recommended that the New York City trustees acknowledge that city workers are living longer and reporting more disabilities — changes that would cost the city an additional $2.8 billion in pension contributions this year. Mr. North has called for the city to soften the blow to the budget by pushing much of the increased pension cost into the future, by spreading the increased liability out over 22 years. Ailing pension systems have been among the factors that have recently driven struggling cities into Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Such bankruptcies are rare, but economists warn that more are likely in the coming years. Faulty assumptions can mask problems, and municipal pension funds are often so big that if they run into a crisis their home cities cannot afford to bail them out. The typical public pension plan assumes its investments will earn average annual returns of 8 percent over the long term, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Actual experience since 2000 has been much less, 5.7 percent over the last 10 years, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. (New York State announced last week that it had earned 5.96 percent last year, compared with the 7.5 percent it had projected.)

Worse, many economists say, is that states and cities have special accounting rules that have been criticized for greatly understating pension costs. Governments do not just use their investment assumptions to project future asset growth. They also use them to measure what they will owe retirees in the future in today’s dollars, something companies have not been permitted to do since 1993.

As a result, companies now use an average interest rate of 4.8 percent to calculate their pension costs in today’s dollars, according to Milliman, an actuarial firm.

In New York City, the proposed 7 percent rate faces resistance from union trustees who sit on the funds’ boards. The trustees have the power to make the change; their decision must also be approved by the State Legislature.

“The continued risk here is that even 7 is too high,” said Edmund J. McMahon, a senior fellow at the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a research group for fiscal issues.

And Jeremy Gold, an actuary and economist who has been an outspoken critic of public pension disclosures, said, “If you’re using 7 percent in a 3 percent world, then you’re still continuing to borrow from the pension fund.” The city’s union leaders disagree. Harry Nespoli, the chairman of the Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella group for the city’s public employee unions, said that lowering the rate to 7 percent was unnecessary.

“They don’t have to turn around and lower it a whole point,” he said.

When asked if his union was more bullish on the markets than the city’s actuary, Mr. Nespoli said, “All we can do is what the actuary is doing. He’s guessing. We’re guessing.”

Vermont has lowered its rate by 2 percentage points, but for only one year. The state recently adopted an unusual new approach calling for a sharp initial reduction in its investment assumptions, followed by gradual yearly increases. Vermont has also required public workers to pay more into the pension system.

Union leaders see hidden agendas behind the rising calls for lower pension assumptions. When Rhode Island’s state treasurer, Gina M. Raimondo, persuaded her state’s pension board to lower its rate to 7.5 percent last year, from 8.25 percent, the president of a firemen’s union accused her of “cooking the books.”

Lowering the rate to 7.5 percent meant Rhode Island’s taxpayers would have to contribute an additional $300 million to the fund in the first year, and more after that. Lawmakers were convinced that the state could not afford that, and instead reduced public pension benefits, including the yearly cost-of-living adjustments that retirees now receive. State officials expect the unions to sue over the benefits cuts.

When the mayor of San Jose, Calif., Chuck Reed, warned that the city’s reliance on 7.5 percent returns was too risky, three public employees’ unions filed a complaint against him and the city with the Securities and Exchange Commission. They told the regulators that San Jose had not included such warnings in its bond prospectus, and asked the regulators to look into whether the omission amounted to securities fraud. A spokesman for the mayor said the complaint was without merit. In Sacramento this year, Alan Milligan, the actuary for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, recommended that the trustees lower their assumption to 7.25 percent from 7.75 percent. Last year, the trustees rejected Mr. Milligan’s previous proposal, to lower the rate to 7.5 percent.

This time, one trustee, Dan Dunmoyer, asked the actuary if he had calculated the probability that the pension fund could even hit those targets.

Yes, Mr. Milligan said: There was a 50-50 chance of getting 7.5 percent returns, on average, over the next two decades. The odds of hitting a 7.25 percent target were a little better, he added, 54 to 46.

Mr. Dunmoyer, who represents the insurance industry on the board, sounded shocked. “To me, as a fiduciary, you want to have more than a 50 percent chance of success.”

If Calpers kept setting high targets and missing them, “the impact on the counties won’t be bigger numbers,” he said. “It will be bankruptcy.”

In the end, a majority decided it was worth the risk, and voted against Mr. Dunmoyer, lowering the rate to 7.5 percent.



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EDITOR’S COMMENT: The Occupy movement is taking on a life of its own, expressing citizen outrage over the behavior of the banks and the complicity of the government in aiding and abetting the stealing of homes. As the movement matures, it is getting increasingly focussed on the weak spots of the Banks and it is having a political effect as well as a judicial effect. Judges are having conferences that differ substantially from the ones they had only 6 months ago.

Judges still want to move their calendar along. And the issue of “finality” still looms large for them — someone has to say “game over.” But they are expressing doubt and dismay as more and more cases show up where it is obvious that the Banks are playing fast and loose with the rules of evidence and more importantly, violating criminal statutes to get a house in which they have no economic interest.

I say we should give the Occupy movement as much support as possible and that we should encourage Occupy leaders to take whatever political action they can to turn the course of the country from becoming a third world nation. The failure of the judicial system and the failure of law enforcement to lead the way on this, as they did when we had the savings loan scandal in the 1980’s is a sure sign that our system is broken and we know who broke it — the Banks.

If we succeed, then we will have reversed control over the government to the people, and reverted to the rule of law required by our Constitution. For those who depend upon the Bill of Rights for their existence, like the NRA (which depends upon the second amendment) they should be aware that acceptance of the status quo means that government can and will take any action it wants ignoring the Constitutional protections that were guaranteed. First, they take your house, then your guns.

Occupy Protests Spread Anti-Foreclosure Message During National ‘Occupy Our Homes’ Action

WASHINGTON — In the late evening on Tuesday, Brigitte Walker welcomed Occupy Atlanta onto her property in an effort to save her Riverdale, Ga., home from foreclosure.

Walker, 44, joined the Army in 1985 and had been among the first U.S. personnel to enter Iraq in February 2003. “I wasn’t happy about it,” she told The Huffington Post early Tuesday afternoon, speaking of her deployment. “But it’s my call of duty so had to do what I was supposed to do. It was a very difficult duty. It was a very emotional duty.”

Walker saw fellow soldiers die, get injured. She saw a civilian with them get killed. “It was very nerve-wracking,” she said. “It makes you wonder if you’re going to survive.”

She was in Iraq until May 2004, when the shock from mortar rounds crushed her spine. Doctors had to put in titanium plates to reinforce her spine, which had nerve damage. Today her range of motion is limited, and she still experiences a lot of pain. She still struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. Loud noises and big crowds are painful. The Fourth of July is difficult for her

She settled in Riverdale, a town outside of Atlanta, after purchasing a house in 2004 for $139,000. She has a brother who lives in the area and enjoyed it when she would visit him. “It seemed peaceful and quiet,” she said. “That’s what I needed.” Her active duty salary covered the mortgage.

But in 2007, the Army medically retired Walker against her wishes. “I thought I was going to rehab and come back,” she said. “But they told me I couldn’t stay in.” Walker now has to rely on a disability check.

After retiring from the Army, Walker used up her savings, and then got rid of a car to help pay her monthly mortgage payment. “I didn’t have problems until they put me out of the military,” she said. “It was just overwhelming.”

By April of last year, she was starting to fall behind on her mortgage. JPMorgan Chase — which owns Walker’s mortgage, according to an Occupy Atlanta press release — has since begun foreclosure proceedings. She said the bank is set to take her house on January 3.

“Nobody is willing to help me,” Walker said. “Where are the programs to help vets like me? I know I’m one of many.”

Enter Occupy Atlanta.

“I’m very hopeful that it will help me save my home and allow Chase to give me a chance to keep my home,” Walker said, speaking of the Occupiers. She added that she’s willing to celebrate Christmas with the activists.

“I guess,” she said with a laugh. “As long as it takes.”

Hours before Occupy Atlanta joined Walker at her home, the activists organized protests aimed at disrupting home auctions at three area courthouses. At a Fulton County Courthouse, civil rights leader Dr. Joseph Lowery joined 200 demonstrators at the county’s monthly foreclosure auction.

Across the country, activists associated with the Occupy movement and Occupy Our Homes reached out to families threatened by foreclosure and highlighted the crisis with marches, rallies and press conferences.

“Occupy Wall Street started because of a deep need in our country to address the financial and economic crisis that’s been created by the consolidation of wealth and political power in our country,” said Jonathan Smucker, 33, an organizer with Occupy Wall Street in New York. “The foreclosure crisis, at least as much as anything else, illustrates the deep moral crisis that we are facing. It illustrates what you have when you have your whole political system serving the needs of the one percent.”

Mothers spoke out on front lawns. In New York City, Occupy Wall Street marched through the streets of East New York. At the same time, Occupy groups were protesting home auctions in Nevada and New Orleans. In Seattle protesters tried to save a family from eviction. In all, activists took over vacant homes or homes facing foreclosures from being evicted in 20 cities.

During the actions, the activists tried to keep the mood light. In Chicago they planned a house-warming party for a family moving into an abandoned home. To announce their presence in New York, protestes held a block party and, in a play on police tape, wrapped a home in yellow tape bearing the word “Occupy.”

As the protest were taking place, the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, released a new report that found an increasing number of American homes are going unused, a spike attributed to high foreclosure and unemployment rates.

“According to Census Bureau data, nonseasonal vacant properties have increased 51 percent nationally from nearly 7 million in 2000 to 10 million in April 2010, with 10 states seeing increases of 70 percent or more,” the report read. “High foreclosure rates have contributed to the additional vacancies. Population declines in certain cities and high unemployment also may have contributed to increased vacancies.”

Vacant homes can cause a number of problems for the communities their located in, the report noted: “Vacant and unattended residential properties can attract crime, cause blight, and pose a threat to public safety.”

The need for action was obvious to Smucker.

“People need a place to live,” he said. “People need to have homes. Kids need to be able to count on not having to move, having some stability in their lives. That’s something we can all agree on in this country.”

Some of the most powerful stories came from the homeowners Occupiers targeted during the day’s events. One mother from Petaluma, Calif, held a press conference outside her home and discussed her struggle with foreclosure. An Oregon mother talked about her lose of a second job, cancer and bankruptcy at an event at her house.

In Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of downtown Atlanta, Occupiers came to the Pittman family home. Carmen Pittman, 21, said the home has been the backdrop to every family function and holiday dinner as far back as she can remember. The ranch-style home had been in the Pittman name since 1953.

“My every Christmas, my every Thanksgiving, my every birthday, my every dinner was in this house,” Pittman told HuffPost early this afternoon. “This was the base home. We could not stay away form this home. This home is my every memory.”

Now she worries that the last memory she will have is the home’s foreclosure. Her grandmother had become too sick to deal with the ballooning mortgage, and never addressed the court papers that arrived in the mail. Shortly before she passed away, the family finally realized the home was being foreclosed on when they got a notice on the front door. They have had to scramble ever since.

But on Tuesday, Pittman was feeling good about her prospects after the Occupy group had come to the house. “Maybe somebody heard my cries,” she said. “I’m full of sadness and joy. It’s like two mixed feelings at the same time.”

Walker, the Iraq War vet, let the Occupy Atlanta activists set up tents on her property this evening. While her eviction date is still set for Jan. 3, she said she remained cautiously optimistic that her situation could change.

“Everything’s fine,” she said. “Everything’s good. They have the tents set up outside. It’s awesome. I was a little nervous. But it’s awesome. I’m really hopeful and happy. I’m feeling really hopeful. I don’t feel like all is lost anymore.”

Additional reporting by Arthur Delaney.

Just some of the odd foreclosure stories of the last year:

CT Family Never Missed A Payment
Shock Baitch and his wife Lisa of Connecticut were threatened with foreclosure by Bank of America after never missing a payment. BofA mistakenly told credit agencies they were seeking a loan modification. “Now I am literally and financially paying for it,” Baitch told



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EDITOR’S COMMENT: Investors are starting to get restless as they see what is left of their “equity” in the MBS deals they advanced money to buy, dwindling to zero. They are onto the game and the pension fund and other fund managers responsible for the purchase had best start acting to protect their pensioners or they will find themselves in the same position as the so-called trustees of what are now emerging as non-existent trusts for pools of money that have nothing but the investor money in them as assets and no loans.

Let’s first get our terms straight so you know who the players are and what they do. Start at the beginning:

  1. Working people get a pension benefit that vests to them after a certain number of years of employment. Sometimes they contribute to the fund themselves, and sometimes it is entirely funded by their employer. 
  2. Those contributions are then aggregated into a fund which often is an entity unto itself — like  a corporation, LLC, Trust etc. organized and existing under the laws of the state where the pension fund is located.
  3. A fund manager is hired to invest those funds to assure that the balances keep up with inflation and so forth. Usually there are restrictions as to what kind of investments the fund manager is allowed to buy for the fund, whose purpose is to give the pensioners, the monthly payment they are expecting when they retire. 
  4. The hired fund manager could be an individual or a company. If it is a company then some person who works at the company is appointed to take care of that fund and perhaps some others.
  5. Usually when the media speaks of “investors” they mean the pension funds or other types of funds under management that constitute qualified investors because they are professionally managed by people of financial sophistication and they have a lot more money than the average Joe so they can check things out pretty carefully. When you have $1 billion under management, it doesn’t take much to spend $50,000 checking out a potential investment. 
  6. So “investors” are basically conduits through which the money funding pensions and the money paying pension benefits are processed, managed and invested. The real people who are affected by the performance of the fund manager are those people who worked for their pension benefits.
  7. The fund manager is usually paid for performance and hired and fired on the same basis. If the fund balances are properly maintained and the investments are all AAA and were checked out by the fund manager, they avoid most of the tricks and scams that Wall Street is always generating.
  8. So the fund manager, in order to preserve his employment, compensation and bonuses (everything on Wall Street is about bonuses) has a vested interest in managing the information that reaches the media and members of the fund. If there is a Board of Directors or other overseeing body they should be checking under the hood as well to make sure that the fund manager is investing according to the rules and make sure that the fund manager is not embezzling funds.
  9. Thus fund managers who invested heavily into MBS Mortgage Bonds or other MBS products that carved up and pooled debts arising from student loans, credit cards etc, all with AAA ratings from the rating agencies, are now sitting on some liabilities that they don’t want to report because if they do, then they will probably lose their bonus, job or other compensation.
  10. Enter the MBS Trustee seen often as Deutsch Bank, as Trustee for series abcnde-2005a. As Reynaldo Reyes has stated in taped interviews, the function of Deutsch Bank is to do nothing. Only the servicer calls the shots, along with instructions from other entities created by the investment banks in order to put layers between them and the acts that caused all this mess. See organized crime structure as the model for what Wall Street did. 
  11. The fund managers for the pension funds (investors) are actually representing real people who are expecting their pension benefits. So now some of them are looking to the MBS Trustee to ACT like a Trustee and ACT like they care what happens to the investors (pension funds) and all the pensioners depending upon that fund. But the same disdain and contempt that has been shown to homeowners in foreclosure is being displayed against the pensioners. They are the “little people” who in the culture of Wall Street “don’t count.”
  12. Many fund managers were duped by several attributes of these bogus MBS Bonds. The AAA ratings were a big factor as was the presence of the largest banks in the world acting as “Trustees.” The Trustees’ deal with Wall Street was to get paid a fee so their name could be used in foreclosures and other transactions. That is why the actual Trust Departments of the same banks serving as MBS Trustees don’t have anything to do with the MBS Trusts. Besides the fact that the Trusts probably don’t exist at all, the deal was that the MBS Trustee would be completely insulated from all the actual workings of the securitization chain.
  13. Recent case decisions are pointing  the way toward holding the MBS Trustees liable for their inaction. That is what Biden And Schneiderman are looking into as well, to see if laws were broken with those deals. Of course laws were broken. The MBS Trustee was advertised as a Trustee with fiduciary duties. Neither the Trust nor the duties actually existed, and even if they did the MBS Trustee had no intention of doing anything because that wasn’t the deal. [You might want to look at both the original Trustee on Deed of Trust and the “substitute Trustee” for additional potential liability — to borrowers.]

At the end of the day, everybody knows everything. I first heard that on Wall Street of all places but they keep forgetting their own little axioms. The MBS Trustees like Deutsch, US BANK, etc. have long been known to be doing absolutely nothing. The purpose of using their name was to provide window dressing: a big name like HSBC is more likely to be taken seriously than some unknown title agent, which is why in the non-judicial states that ALWAYS have a substitution of trustee. The other reason is that the original trustee would insist on performing the due diligence that the statutes require and oops, they are not going foreclose on property at the instruction of someone who is out of the chain of title.

Biden of Delaware and Schneiderman of New York, both Attorney generals in the center of the securitization playground, are now looking at one of the weakest links in the Great Securitization Scam — i.e., the claim that securitization happened when it didn’t. The fact is that the parties took the money as though the securitization documents were followed but they didn’t have the the loans, transfer documents, mortgage documents, or for that matter even a conforming mortgage that was an actual lien on anyone’s property.

Pauley’s BofA MBS ruling is boon to New York, Delaware AGs

10/25/2011 COMMENTS (0)

In 1998, 400 investors in a trust that distributed revenue from a communications satellite got word that their securitization trustee had settled a $41-million suit against the satellite’s fuel supplier. The trustee, IBJ Schroeder, filed a New York State Article 77 proceeding to obtain a judge’s endorsement of the $8.5 million settlement. Some of the investors protested the deal, arguing that the trustee didn’t have the power to settle the case without consulting them. In 2000, a New York appeals court ruled that, in fact, IBJ Schroeder did have that power, under both New York law and the contract governing the satellite revenue trust. The lower court ultimately ruled in the Article 77 case that even if investors considered the settlement amount too low, Schroeder hadn’t acted unreasonably or imprudently in striking the deal.

If you’re wondering why I’m telling you about an 11-year old ruling involving a defunct communications satellite, it’s because the IBJ Schroeder opinion is sure to be invoked by Bank of New York Mellon, the trustee of those Countrywide mortgage-backed securities, as well as the 22 Countrywide MBS investors represented by Gibbs & Bruns as they appeal last week’s decision by U.S. District Judge William Pauley III of Manhattan federal court. In holding that the federal courts have jurisdiction over Bank of America’s proposed $8.5 billion settlement, Pauley took issue with BNY Mellon’s use of an Article 77 proceeding to get the deal approved. The judge wrote that Article 77 is usually employed to resolve garden-variety trust administration issues; BNY Mellon and Gibbs & Bruns will use the IBJ Schroeder ruling to argue at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that, contrary to Pauley’s assertion, there’s precedent for using Article 77 exactly as they did in the BofA MBS case.

But even as the Second Circuit decides whether to take up the issue of the rights and responsibilities of securitization trustees, state attorneys general are likely to pounce upon some of the language in Pauley’s 21-page ruling. I warned that there might be unintended consequences for indentured trustees when the judge asked for briefing on the BNY Mellon’s duties. After Pauley’s ruling, that warning is now a red alert. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman and his faithful follower, Joseph Biden III of Delaware, have both announced that they’re investigating MBS securitization trustees. Schneiderman showed he’s serious by filing state-law fraud claims against BNY Mellon along with his petition to intervene in the BofA Article 77 proceeding. In his complaint against BNY, Schneiderman argued that once an investment goes south, as many of the MBS trusts have, the indentured trustee has a fiduciary duty to trust beneficiaries under New York common law.

BNY Mellon’s lawyers, on the other hand, argued in a brief to Pauley that an indentured trustee does not have a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries. The investment contract, BNY Mellon said, governs the trustee’s responsibilities. Standard securitization contracts, known as pooling and servicing agreements, say the indentured trustee serves a ministerial function, mostly making revenue distributions to investors. BNY Mellon told the judge that its only responsibilities, aside from those specified in pooling and servicing agreements, are common law duties to avoid conflicts of interest and to exercise due care.

The judge, however, took a broader view of the source of the trustee’s responsibilities — and that’s good news for regulators who are trying to find routes to liability for securitization trustees. Pauley considered the question in the context of determining whether the proposed BofA settlement falls into an exception to federal court jurisdiction in the Class Action Fairness Act. But his reasoning, of course, can be cited in other contexts.

Pauley cited Judge Learned Hand — who sat on the same court a century ago — to conclude that indentured trustees can’t evade a duty of loyalty to beneficiaries just because their responsibilities are defined by a contract. BNY Mellon had asserted its only duty to act in good faith came from the Countrywide pooling and servicing agreements. Pauley said it comes instead from state common law. As New York and Delaware regulators consider causes of action against securitization trustees, they’re going to have stronger claims if they can argue that trustees breached their state-law duties to investors. Similarly, trustee defenses are weakened if they can’t argue that their responsibilities were strictly defined by pooling and servicing agreements.

The New York and Delaware AGs are in an awkward limbo right now in the BofA MBS litigation. When Grais & Ellsworth removed the case to federal court, their intervention petitions were pending before Judge Barbara Kapnick in New York State Supreme Court. (BNY Mellon and Gibbs & Bruns, you may recall, filed fiery briefs opposing the N.Y. AG’s intervention.) The AGs stayed out of the federal court case while Pauley decided whether to remand it. But now they’re likely to renew their intervention petitions before the federal court judge, who has already raised a lot of the same questions as the AGs about the fairness of a binding settlement that was reached without consulting most of the investors it will affect. (The New York AG’s Martin Act counterclaim against BNY Mellon, in case you’re wondering, can technically proceed in federal court as well.) As I’ve said before, it’s too soon to say for sure that the proposed settlement will stay with Pauley. But if it does, invigorated attorneys general are the last thing BofA, BNY Mellon, and the Gibbs & Bruns group need.

(Reporting by Alison Frankel)

Follow On the Case on Twitter: @AlisonFrankel

Follow us on Twitter: @ReutersLegal



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Delaware sues MERS, claims mortgage deception

Posted on Stop Foreclosure Fraud

Posted on27 October 2011.

Delaware sues MERS, claims mortgage deceptionSome saw this coming in the last few weeks. Now all HELL is about to Break Loose.

This is one of the States I mentioned MERS has to watch…why? Because the “Co.” originated here & under Laws of Delaware…following? [see below].

Also look at the date this TM patent below was signed 3-4 years after MERS’ 1999 date via VP W. Hultman’s secretary Kathy McKnight [PDF link to depo pages 29-39].

New York…next!

Delaware Online-

Delaware joined what is becoming a growing legal battle against the mortgage industry today, charging in a Chancery Court suit that consumers facing foreclosure were purposely misled and deceived by the company that supposedly kept track of their loans’ ownership.

By operating a shadowy and frequently inaccurate private database that obscured the mortgages’ true owners, Merscorp made it difficult for hundreds of Delaware homeowners to fight foreclosure actions in court or negotiate new terms on their loans, the suit filed by the Attorney General’s Office said.


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  5. California Takes the Bait, Is Wooed In Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Talks People NEED JOBS ..!! I don’t care if you refi…



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EDITOR’S NOTE: California has approximately a 1/3 share of all foreclosures. So Harris’ decision to drop out of the talks is a huge blow to the mega banks who were banking (pardon the pun) on using it to get immunity from prosecution. The answer is no, you will be held accountable for what you did, just like anyone else. As I have stated before when the other AG’s dropped out of the talks (Arizona, Nevada et al), this growing trend is getting real traction as those in politics have discovered an important nuance in the minds of voters: they may have differing opinions on what should be done about foreclosures but they all hate these monolithic banks who are siphoning off the lifeblood of our society. And there is nothing like hate to drive voting.

This is a process, not an event. We are at the end of the 4th inning in a 9-inning game that may go into overtime. The effects of the mortgage mess created by the banks are being felt at the dinner table of just about every citizen in the country. The politics here is creating a huge paradox and irony — the largest source of campaign donations has turned into a pariah with whom association will be as deadly at the polls as organized crime.

The fact that so many attorneys general of so many states are putting distance between themselves and the banks means a lot. It means that the banks are in serious danger of indictment and conviction on criminal charges for fraud, forgery, perjury and potentially many other crimes.

IDENTITY THEFT: One crime that is being investigated, which I have long felt was a major element of the securitization scam for the “securitization that never happened” is the theft of identities. By signing onto what appeared to be mortgage documents, borrowers were in fact becoming issuers or pawns in the issuance of fraudulent securities to investors. Those with high credit scores were especially valued for the “cover” they provided in the upper tranches of the CDO’s that were “sold” to investors. An 800 credit score could be used to get a AAA  rating from the rating agencies who were themselves paid off to provide additional cover.

But it all comes down to the use of people’s identities as “borrowers” when in fact there was no “Lending” going on. What was going on was “pretend lending” that had all the outward manifestations of a loan but none of the substance. Yes money exchanged hands, but the real parties never met and never signed papers with each other. In my opinion, the proof of identity theft will put the borrowers in a superior position to that of the investors in suits against the investment bankers.

NO UNDERWRITING=NO LOAN: There was no underwriting committee, there was no underwriting, there was no review of the appraisal, there was no confirmation of the borrower’s income and there was no decision about the risk and viability of the so-called loan, because it wasn’t about that. The risk was already eliminated when they sold the bogus mortgage bonds to investors and thus saddled pension funds with the entire risk of loss on empty “mortgage backed pools.” So if the loan wasn’t paid, the players at ground level had no risk. Their only incentive was to get the signature of the borrower. That is what they were paid for — not to produce quality loans, but to produce signatures.

Little did we know, the more loans that defaulted, the more money the banks made — but they were able to mask the gains with apparent losses as an excuse to extract emergency money from the US Treasury using taxpayer dollars without accounting for the “loss” or what they did with the money. Meanwhile the gains were safely parked off shore in “off-balance sheet” transaction accounts.

The question that has not yet been asked, but will be asked as prosecutors and civil litigators drill down into these deals is who controls that off-shore money? My math is telling me that some $2.6 trillion was siphoned off (second level — hidden — yield spread premium) the investors money before the balance was used to fund “loans.”

When all is said and done, those loans will be seen for what they really were — part of the issuance of unregistered fraudulent securities. And you’ll see that the investors didn’t get any more paperwork than the borrowers did as to what was really going on. The banks want us to focus on the the paperwork when in fact it is the actual transactions involving money that we should be following. The paperwork is a ruse. It is faked.


California AG Harris Exits Multistate Talks
in News > Mortgage Servicing
by on Monday 03 October 2011
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The multistate attorneys general group working toward a foreclosure settlement with the nation’s biggest banks suffered a blow Friday, when California’s Kamala Harris announced her departure from negotiations.

Harris notified Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and U.S. Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli of her decision in a letter that was obtained and published by the New York Times Friday. According to the letter, Harris is exiting the talks because she opposes the broad scope of the settlement terms under discussion.

“Last week, I went to Washington, D.C., in hopes of moving our discussions forward,” Harris wrote. “But it became clear to me that California was being asked for a broader release of claims than we can accept and to excuse conduct that has not been adequately investigated.”

“[T]his not the deal California homeowners have been waiting for,” Harris adds one line later.

Harris, who earlier this year launched a mortgage fraud task force, says she will continue investigating mortgage practices – including banks’ bubble-era securitization activities – independent of the multistate group.

“I am committed to doing as thorough an investigation as is needed – and to taking the time that is necessary – to set the stage for achieving appropriate accountability for misconduct,” she wrote.

Harris also told Miller and Perrelli that she intends to advocate for legislation and regulations that increase transparency in the mortgage markets and “eliminate incentives to disregard borrowers’ rights in foreclosure.”

Harris’ departure is considered significant given the high number of distressed loans in California. In August, approximately one in every 226 housing units in the state had a foreclosure filing of some kind, according to RealtyTrac data.



COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION ANALYSIS – CLICK HERE

SEE ALSO game-over-veal-case-vindicates-every-point-reported-on-livinglies

EDITOR’S ANALYSIS: This case is corroboration of everything we have been saying — the Banks are making us live their lie. They don’t have the mortgages, the investors don’t want them, and the robosigning is euphemism for fraud, forgery and suborning perjury. The road is open to clear title in a suit to quiet title regardless of what stage of foreclosure or contest you are in. If a real creditor wants to make a claim they must present it like any other, without getting around due process, and they must prove it with a FULL accounting for every transaction affecting the loan.


  1. There is no reasonable basis to believe that the investors knew or would accept the transfer of a non-performing loan into a pool in which they supposedly had an interest. The failure of the banks to do the paperwork at the origination of the loan was a fatal defect. They cannot correct the defect by “assigning” the defective and non-performing loan into a pool of assets, contrary to the wishes and agreements with the investors. 
  2. MERS never had the note nor did it ever have an interest in the note. Thus the ability of HSBC to foreclose on a MERS mortgage was eviscerated. The note was split from the mortgage and that defect cannot be cured, although Judge Shack gave HSBC every opportunity to try.
  3. Millions of foreclosures fall into the same category — all of which could be overturned with prejudice, thus disallowing ANYONE to foreclose on property that reveals the same elements as those presented in the Taher case.
  4. Prosecution of notaries, witnesses and signatories, as well as those who put them up to it may well follow at the State level for perjury, criminal fraud, suborning perjury and forgery, based upon Judge Shack’s finding that the statements made in sworn affidavits and confirmed by HSBC were “patently false.”
  5. The pattern of conduct described by Judge Shack also opens the door to civil and criminal RICO actions.
  6. States, sagging under the weight of foreclosures and the dampening effect on each state economy, may well have a way out on a variety of fronts by demonstrating the damage done to the title system, to the economy and to the citizens of each state. 
  7. An “assignment” is no substitute for a properly endorsed note that could be accepted by the assignee. Just like a check, an assignment of the check in a separate instrument conveys nothing. 
  8. A “foreclosure of a mortgage may not be brought by one who has no title to it and absent transfer of the debt, the assignment of the mortgage is a nullity”.
  9.  Self-serving statements claiming agency powers are not sufficient to prove the agency nor the scope of the agent’s powers.
  10. “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel [Emphasis added].”

HSBC v TAHER | Judge SCHACK Grand SLAM!! MERS, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Ocwen Robo-Signers Christina Carter, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

HSBC v TAHER | Judge SCHACK Grand SLAM!! MERS, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Ocwen Robo-Signers Christina Carter, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo Dismissed w/ PREJUDICEcoup de grasDecided on July 1, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County



Ellen N. Taher, et. al.


On plaintiff HSBC’s deadline day, January 7, 2011, the 60th day after issuing my November 8, 2010 decision and order, plaintiff’s counsel, Frank M. Cassara, Esq., of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, submitted to my chambers the required affirmation, pursuant to Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s Administrative Order 548/10. Mr. Cassara, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury”:


The assignment of the subject mortgage and note to HSBC, by MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. (MERS), in the instant foreclosure action is without legal authority. MERS never possessed the TAHER note it allegedly assigned to plaintiff HSBC. Thus, plaintiff HSBC lacked standing to commence the instant foreclosure action. Therefore, the assignment is defective and the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

Mr. Cassara’s affirmation, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury,” that to the best of Mr. Cassara’s “knowledge, information, and belief, the Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the [*4]Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law,” is patently false. Moreover, the Court is troubled that: the alleged representative of plaintiff HSBC, Christina Carter, who according to Mr. Cassara, “confirmed the factual accuracy and allegations set forth in the Complaint and any supporting affirmations filed with the Court, as well as the accuracy of the notarizations contained in the supporting documents filed therewith,” is not an employee of HSBC, but a robosigner employed by OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC [OCWEN], whose signature on legal documents has at least three variations; the MERS to plaintiff HSBC assignment of the subject mortgage and note was executed by Scott W. Anderson, a known robosigner and OCWEN employee, whose signature is reported to have appeared in at least four different variations on mortgage assignments; and, the instant affidavit of merit was executed by Margery Rotundo, another robosigner, OCWEN employee and self-alleged employee of various other banking entities.

Last month, on May 19, 2011, in a case involving a defective MERS to HSBC assignment by a robosigner, Maine’s highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court, found that HSBC’s affidavits and the assignment of the note and mortgage by MERS to HSBC contained serious defects. The Maine Court held “that the affidavits submitted by HSBC contain serious irregularities that make them inherently untrustworthy.” (HSBC Mortg. Services, Inc. v Murphy, 19 A3d 815, 2011 ME 59, * 3). HSBC has a history of foreclosure actions before me with affidavits of merit executed by Margery Rotundo and MERS to HSBC assignments executed by Scott Anderson that “contain serious irregularities that make them inherently untrustworthy.” Moreover, Mr. Cassara was put on notice, in my November 8, 2010 decision and order, that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel.”


Robosigner Scott W. Anderson

While I have never personally met Mr. Anderson, his signatures have appeared in many foreclosure documents in this Court. His claims of wearing different corporate hats and the variations in the scrawls of initials used for his signature on mortgage documents has earned Mr. Anderson notoriety as a robosigner. Kimberly Miller, in her January 5, 2011-Palm Beach Post article, “State details foreclosure crisis,” wrote:

Sweeping evidence of the case the state attorney general’s office

has built in its pursuit of foreclosure justice for Florida homeowners is

outlined in a 98-page presentation complete with copies of allegedly

forged signatures, false notarizations, bogus witnesses and improper

mortgage assignments.

The presentation, titled “Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable

Acts in Foreclosure Cases,” was given during an early December

conference of the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers

by the attorney general’s economic crimes division.

It is one of the first examples of what the state has compiled in

its exploration of foreclosure malpractice, condemning banks, mortgage

servicers and law firms for contributing to the crisis by cutting corners . . .

In page after page of copied records, the presentation meticulously

documents cases of questionable signatures, notarizations that could not

have occurred when they are said to have because of when the notary

stamp expires, and foreclosures filed by entities that might not have

had legal ability to foreclose.

It also focuses largely on assignments of mortgage [sic],

documents that transfer ownership of mortgages from one bank to

another. Mortgage assignments became an issue after the real estate

boom, when mortgages were sold and resold, packaged into securities

trusts and otherwise transferred in a labyrinthine fashion that made

tracking difficult.

As foreclosures mounted, the banks appointed people to create

assignments, “thousands and thousands and thousands” of which were signed weekly by people who may not [*6]have known what they were signing . . .

In another example, the signature of Scott Anderson, an employee

of West Palm Beach-based Ocwen Financial Corp., appears in four

styles on mortgage assignments . . .

Paul Koches, executive vice president of Ocwen, acknowledged

Tuesday that the signatures were not all Anderson’s, but that doesn’t mean

they were forged, he said. Certain employees were given authorization

to sign for Anderson on mortgage assignments, which Koches noted

do not need to be notarized.

Still, Ocwen has since stopped allowing other people to sign for

Anderson, Koches said.

Last September, the Ohio Court of Appeals, Second District, Montgomery County

(2010 WL 3451130, 2010-Ohio-4158, lv denied 17 Ohio St.3d 1532 [2011]), affirmed the denial of a foreclosure, sought by plaintiff HSBC, because of numerous irregularities. The Ohio Court, in citing four decisions by this Court [three of the four involved Scott Anderson as assignor] summarized some of this Court’s prior concerns with HSBC and Mr. Anderson, in observing, at * 11:

recent decisions in the State of New York have noted numerous

irregularities in HSBC’s mortgage documentation and corporate

relationships with Ocwen, MERS, and Delta. See, e.g., HSBC Bank

USA, N.A. v Cherry (2007), 18 Misc 3d 1102 (A) [Scott Anderson

assignor] and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Yeasmin (2010), 27 Misc 3d

1227 (A) (dismissing HSBC’s requests for orders of reference in

mortgage foreclosure actions, due to HSBC’s failure to provide proper

affidavits). See, also, e.g., HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Charlevagne (2008),

20 Misc 3d 1128 (A) [Scott Anderson assignor] and HSBC Bank USA,

N.A. v Antrobus (2008), 20 Misc 3d 1127 (A) [Scott Anderson assignor]

(describing “possible incestuous relationship” between HSBC Bank,

Ocwen Loan Servicing, Delta Funding Corporation, and Mortgage

Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., due to the fact that the entities

all share the same office space at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100,

West Palm Beach, Florida. HSBC also supplied affidavits in support

of foreclosure from individuals who claimed simultaneously to be

officers of more than one of these corporations.).This Court reviewed Scott Anderson’s signature on the instant MERS to HSBC assignment of the TAHER mortgage and note and using ACRIS compared his signature with that used in assignments in the five prior Scott Anderson assignment foreclosure cases decided by this Court. Similar to the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division findings, as reported above in the Kimberly Miller Palm Beach Post article, I also found four variations of Mr. Anderson’s signature in these six assignments. Each signature is actually a variation of Mr. Anderson’s initials, “SA.” The Court concludes that it must be a herculean task for Mr. Anderson to sign “Scott Anderson” or “Scott W. Anderson” in full.

Mr. Anderson’s first signature variation is found in: the January 19, 2007 assignment of the 48 Van Siclen Avenue (Block 3932, Lot 45, County of Kings) mortgage and note from DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY AS TRUSTEE TO MTGLQ INVESTORS LP, by Scott W. Anderson as Senor Vice President of OCWEN, attorney-in-fact for DEUTSCHE BANK (Deutsche Bank Nat Trust Co. v Castellanos, 18 Misc 3d 1115 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]), recorded on February 7, 2007 at CRFN 2007000073000; and, the June 13, 2007 assignment of the 3570 Canal Avenue (Block 6978, Lot 20, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Cherry, 18 Misc 3d 1102 (A) [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]), recorded on August 13, 2007 at CRFN 2007000416732. In this signature variation the letter “S” is a cursive bell-shaped curve overlapping with the cursive letter “A.”

The second signature variation used for Mr. Anderson is in the May 1, 2007 assignment of the 572 Riverdale Avenue (Block 3838, Lot 39, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Valentin, 18 Misc 3d 1123 [A] [Sup [*7]Ct, Kings County 2008]) and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Valentin, 21 Misc 3d 1124 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2008], affd as modified 72 AD3d 1027 [2010]), recorded on June 13, 2007 at CRFN 2007000306260. These decisions will be referred to as Valentin I and Valentin II. In this signature variation the letter “S” is a cursive circle around a cursive letter “A” with various loops.

The third signature variation used for Mr. Anderson is in the November 30, 2007 assignment of the 680 Decauter Street (Block 1506, Lot 2, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Antrobus, 20 Misc 3d 1127 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County [2008]), recorded on January 16, 2008 at CRFN 2008000021186. In this signature variation, the initials are illegible. One cursive letter looks almost like the letter “O.” It is a circle sitting in a valley created by something that looks like the cursive letter “M.”

In the fourth signature variation, used for Mr. Anderson in the February 16, 2009 assignment in the instant case, the cursive letter “S,” which is circular with a loop on the lower left side abuts the cursive letter “A” to its right.

Moreover, in HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Cherry, Mr. Anderson acted both as assignor of the mortgage and note to HSBC and then as servicing agent for assignee HSBC by executing the “affidavit of merit”for a default judgment. Because of this, in Valentin I, I required him to provide me with an affidavit about his employment history. In Valentin II the Court was provided with an affidavit by Mr. Anderson, sworn on March 14, 2008. Mr. Anderson, in his affidavit, admitted he was conflicted. I noted, at * 2, in Valentin II that:

The Court is troubled that Mr. Anderson acted as both assignor

of the instant mortgage loan, and then as the Vice President of Ocwen,

assignee HSBC’s servicing agent. He admits to this conflict, in ¶ 13,

stating that “[w]hen the loan went into default and then foreclosure in

2007, Ocwen, in it capacity as servicer, elected to remove the loan

from the MERS system and transfer title to HSBC.”

The stockholders of HSBC and the noteholders of the Trust [the

owner of the mortgage] probably are not aware that Mr. Anderson,

on behalf of the servicer, Ocwen, claims to have the right to assign

“toxic” nonperforming mortgage loans to them. It could well be that

Ocwen’s transfer of the instant nonperforming loan, as well as others, is

part of what former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan

referred to in his October 23, 2008 testimony, before the House

Oversight Committee, as “a once in a century credit tsunami.”

Interestingly, the purported signature of Mr. Anderson in the March 14, 2008-Valentin II affidavit is a fifth signature variation. The Court is perplexed that in response to my order for Mr. Anderson to submit an affidavit with respect to his employment, Mr. Anderson was unable to sign either “Scott Anderson” or “Scott W. Anderson.” Instead, there is a fifth variation of scrawled initials. There is a big loop for the cursive letter “S,” which contains within it something that looks like the cursive letter “M” going into lines that look like the cursive letter “V,” with a wiggly line going to the right of the page.

Robosigner Margery Rotundo

In the instant action, Margery Rotundo executed the April 27, 2009 affidavit of merit and amount due. Ms. Rotundo has, in prior foreclosure cases before me, a history of alleging to be the Senior Vice President of various entities, including plaintiff HSBC, Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. and an unnamed servicing agent for HSBC. In the instant action she claims to be the Senior Vice President of Residential Loss Mitigation of OCWEN, HSBC’s servicing agent.

In HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Charlevagne (20 Misc 3d 1128 (A) [Sup Ct, Kings County 2008]), one of the cases in which Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS assigned the mortgage and note to HSBC, I commented about Ms. Rotundo’s self-allegations of multiple employers, at * 1:

The renewed application of plaintiff, HSBC . . . for an order of

reference and related relief in this foreclosure action, in which all

defendants defaulted, for the premises located at 455 Crescent Street,

Brooklyn, New York (Block 4216, Lot 20, County of Kings) is again [*8]

denied without prejudice, with leave to renew upon providing the

Court with a satisfactory explanation to four concerns.

First, the original application for an order of reference and

related relief was denied with leave to renew, in my unpublished

decision and order of November 15, 2007, because the “affidavit of

merit” was not made by a party but by Margery Rotundo, who swore

that [she] was “Senior Vice President Residential Loss Mitigation of


HSBC,”and the “Limited Power of Attorney” from HSBC to OCWEN

was defective. In the renewed application, Ms. Rotundo claims in her

January 9, 2008-”affidavit of merit and amount due,” that she “is the

Senior Vice President of Residential Loss Mitigation of HSBC BANK



BACKED NOTES, SERIES 2005-3.” In prior decisions, I found that

Ms. Rotundo swore: on October 5, 2007 to be Senior Vice President

of Loss Mitigation for Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. (Nomura Credit

& Capital, Inc., 19 Misc 3d 1126 (A) [April 30, 2008]); and, on

December 12, 2007 to be Senior Vice President of an unnamed

servicing agent for HSBC (HSBC Bank USA, NA v Antrobus, 20

Misc 3d 1127 (A) [July 31, 2008]).

The late gossip columnist Hedda Hopper and the late United

States Representative Bella Abzug were famous for wearing many

colorful hats. With all the corporate hats Ms. Rotundo has recently

worn, she might become the contemporary millinery rival to both

Ms. Hopper and Ms. Abzug. The Court needs to know the employment

history of the peripatetic Ms. Rotundo. Did she truly switch employers

or did plaintiff have her sign the “affidavit of merit and amount due”

as its Senior Vice President solely to satisfy the Court?

In my Charlevagne decision and order I denied an order of reference without prejudice and granted leave to plaintiff HSBC to renew its application for an order of reference for the premises by providing the Court with several documents, including, at * 4, “an affidavit from Margery Rotundo describing her employment history for the past three years.” Subsequently, plaintiff HSBC’s counsel in Charlevagne, Steven J. Baum, P.C., never provided me with an affidavit from Margery Rotundo, but filed with the Kings County Clerk, on October 27, 2008, a stipulation of discontinuance and cancellation of the notice of pendency.

Robosigner Christina Carter

Mr. Cassara, plaintiff’s counsel affirmed that “On January 4, 2011 and January 5, 2011, I communicated with the following representative . . . of Plaintiff . . . Christina Carter . . . Manager of Account Management.” This is disingenuous. Ms. Carter is not employed by plaintiff, but by OCWEN. She executed documents as an officer of MERS and as an employee of OCWEN. Ms. Carter’s signature on documents is suspect because of the variations of her signature used.

This Court examined eight recent documents that exhibit three different variations of Christina Carter’s signature. The first signature variation is on her May 24, 2010 application with the Florida Department of State for a notary public commission. In this application she lists as her business address that of OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” In her full signature the capital letters “C” in her first and last names are signed differently than in other recent documents reviewed by this Court.

In five other documents reviewed by the Court, Ms. Carter signs her initials with the second letter “C” looking like a cursive letter “L,” with a circular loop on the second letter “C.” Three of these documents are deeds of release to acknowledge mortgage satisfactions, filed with the Clerk of Court for Middlesex County, South District, State of Massachusetts. In the first document, signed on July 2, 2010, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 158 Algonquin Trail, Ashland, Massachusetts, with the deed of release [*9]recorded on September 9, 2010, at document number 2010 00156681. In the second document, signed on July 7, 2010, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, for the premises at 30 Kenilworth Street, Malden, Massachusetts, with the deed of release recorded on September 3, 2010, at document number 2010 01542078. In the third Middlesex County, Massachusetts document, signed on July 19, 2010, she signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 10 Johnson Farm Road, Lexington, Massachusetts, with the deed of release recorded on September 9, 2010, at document number 2010 00156684. In the fourth document, signed on July 12, 2010, for the assignment of a mortgage for 1201 Pine Sage Circle, West Palm Beach, Florida, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for NEW CENTURY MORTGAGE CORPORATION BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC (NEW CENTURY). This mortgage was assigned to DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR IXIS REAL ESTATE CAPITAL TRUST 2005-HE3 MORTGAGE PASS THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2005-HE3 (DEUTSCHE BANK) and recorded on August 23, 2010 with the Palm Beach County Clerk at CFN 20100314054. Interestingly, both assignor NEW CENTURY and assignee DEUTSCHE BANK have the same address, c/o OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” In the fifth document, Ms. Carter changes corporate hats. She signed, on September 8, 2010, an Oregon assignment of a mortgage deed of trust, for 20673 Honeysuckle Lane, Bend Oregon, as Vice President of MERS “ACTING SOLELY AS NOMINEE FOR CHAPEL MORTGAGE CORPORATION.” The assignment is to DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR IXIS REAL ESTATE CAPITAL TRUST 2006-HE2 MORTGAGE PASS THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-HE2, whose address is c/o OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” This was recorded on September 20, 2010 with the Clerk of Deschutes County, Oregon.

Ms. Carter, in the third variation of her signature, again only uses her initials, but the second letter “C” looks like the cursive letter “C,” not the cursive letter “L” with a circular loop. The Court examined two of these documents. The first document is a mortgage satisfaction, signed on June 15, 2010, and filed with the Clerk of Court for Middlesex County, South District, State of Massachusetts. Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 4 Mellon Road, Billerica, Massachusetts. The deed of release was recorded on July 19, 2010, at document number 2010 00031211. In the second document, a mortgage satisfaction for the premises at 13352 Bedford Meadows Court, Wellington, Florida, Ms. Carter signed on July 22, 2010, as “Account Management, Manager” for “HSBC BANK USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION AS TRUSTEE BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC.” The document never states for whom HSBC is the Trustee.

This was recorded on September 10, 2010 with the Palm Beach County Clerk at CFN 20100339935.

Plaintiff’s lack of Standing

Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) § 1321 allows the Court in a foreclosure action, upon the default of defendant or defendant’s admission of mortgage payment arrears, to appoint a referee “to compute the amount due to the plaintiff.” Plaintiff HSBC’s application for an order of reference is a preliminary step to obtaining a default judgment of foreclosure and sale. (Home Sav. Of Am., F.A. v Gkanios, 230 AD2d 770 [2d Dept 1996]).

However, the instant action must be dismissed because plaintiff HSBC lacks standing to bring this action. MERS lacked the authority to assign the subject TAHER mortgage to HSBC and there is no evidence that MERS physically possessed the TAHER notes. Under the terms of the TAHER consolidation, extension and modification agreement, DELTA, not MERS, is the “Note Holder.” As described above, the consolidation, extension and modification agreement defines the “Note Holder” as the “Lender or anyone who succeeds to Lender’s rights under this Agreement and who is entitled to receive the payments.”

“Standing to sue is critical to the proper functioning of the judicial system. It is a threshold issue. If standing is denied, the pathway to the courthouse is blocked. The plaintiff who has standing, however, may cross the threshold and seek judicial redress.” (Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. v Pataki, 100 NY2d 801 812 [2003], cert denied 540 US 1017 [2003]). Professor David Siegel (NY Prac, § 136, at 232 [4d ed]), instructs that:

[i]t is the law’s policy to allow only an aggrieved person to bring a

lawsuit . . . A want of “standing to sue,” in other words, is just another

way of saying that this particular plaintiff is not involved in a genuine

controversy, and a simple syllogism takes us from there to a “jurisdictional” [*10]

dismissal: (1) the courts have jurisdiction only over controversies; (2) a

plaintiff found to lack “standing”is not involved in a controversy; and

(3) the courts therefore have no jurisdiction of the case when such a

plaintiff purports to bring it.

“Standing to sue requires an interest in the claim at issue in the lawsuit that the law will recognize as a sufficient predicate for determining the issue at the litigant’s request.” (Caprer v Nussbaum (36 AD3d 176, 181 [2d Dept 2006]). If a plaintiff lacks standing to sue, the plaintiff may not proceed in the action. (Stark v Goldberg, 297 AD2d 203 [1st Dept 2002]).

The Appellate Division, Second Department recently instructed, with respect to standing in a foreclosure action, in Aurora Loan Services, LLC v Weisblum (___ AD3d ___, 2011 NY Slip Op 04184 [May 17, 2011]), at * 6-7, that:

In order to commence a foreclosure action, the plaintiff must

have a legal or equitable interest in the mortgage ( see Wells Fargo

Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d, 204, 207 [2d Dept 2009]). A

plaintiff has standing where it is both (1) the holder or assignee of

the subject mortgage and (2) the holder or assignee of the underlying

note, either by physical delivery or execution of a written assignment

prior to the commencement of the action with the filing of the complaint

(see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d at 207-209; U.S.

Bank v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 754 [2d Dept 2009].)

Assignments of mortgages and notes are made by either written instrument or the

assignor physically delivering the mortgage and note to the assignee. “Our courts have repeatedly held that a bond and mortgage may be transferred by delivery without a written instrument of assignment.” (Flyer v Sullivan, 284 AD 697, 699 [1d Dept 1954]).

In the instant action, even if MERS had authority to transfer the mortgage to HSBC, DELTA, not MERS, is the note holder. Therefore, MERS cannot transfer something it never proved it possessed. A “foreclosure of a mortgage may not be brought by one who has no title to it and absent transfer of the debt, the assignment of the mortgage is a nullity [Emphasis added].” (Kluge v Fugazy (145 AD2d 537, 538 [2d Dept 1988]). Moreover, “a mortgage is but an incident to the debt which it is intended to secure . . . the logical conclusion is that a transfer of the mortgage without the debt is a nullity, and no interest is assigned by it. The security cannot be separated from the debt, and exist independently of it. This is the necessary legal conclusion.” (Merritt v Bartholick, 36 NY 44, 45 [1867]. The Appellate Division, First Department, citing Kluge v Fugazy in Katz v East-Ville Realty Co. ( 249 AD2d 243 [1d Dept 1998]), instructed that “[p]laintiff’s attempt to foreclose upon a mortgage in which he had no legal or equitable interest was without foundation in law or fact.” (See U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d at 754).

MERS had no authority to assign the subject mortgage and note

Scott Anderson for MERS as assignor, did not have specific authority to sign the TAHER mortgage. Under the terms of the consolidation, extension and modification agreement, MERS is “acting solely as nominee for Lender [DELTA].” The alleged power of attorney cited in the Scott Anderson MERS to HSBC assignment, as described [*11]above, is a limited power of attorney from DELTA to OCWEN for the premises located at 14 Harden Street, Brooklyn, New York, not the subject premises. MERS is not mentioned or involved with this limited power of attorney. In both underlying TAHER mortgages MERS was “acting solely as a nominee for Lender,” which is DELTA. The term “nominee” is defined as “[a] person designated to act in place of another, usu. in a very limited way” or “[a] party who holds bare legal title for the benefit of others.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 1076 [8th ed 2004]). “This definition suggests that a nominee possesses few or no legally enforceable rights beyond those of a principal whom the nominee serves.” (Landmark National Bank v Kesler, 289 Kan 528, 538 [2009]). The Supreme Court of Kansas, in Landmark National Bank, 289 Kan at 539, observed that:

The legal status of a nominee, then, depends on the context of

the relationship of the nominee to its principal. Various courts have

interpreted the relationship of MERS and the lender as an agency

relationship. See In re Sheridan, 2009 WL631355, at *4 (Bankr. D.

Idaho, March 12, 2009) (MERS “acts not on its own account. Its

capacity is representative.”); Mortgage Elec. Registrations Systems,

Inc. v Southwest, 2009 Ark. 152 ___, ___SW3d___, 2009 WL 723182

(March 19, 2009) (“MERS, by the terms of the deed of trust, and its

own stated purposes, was the lender’s agent”); La Salle Nat. Bank v

Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A], at *2 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006]) . . .

(“A nominee of the owner of a note and mortgage may not effectively

assign the note and mortgage to another for want of an ownership

interest in said note and mortgage by the nominee.”)

The New York Court of Appeals in MERSCORP, Inc. v Romaine (8 NY3d 90 [2006]), explained how MERS acts as the agent of mortgagees, holding at 96:

In 1993, the MERS system was created by several large

participants in the real estate mortgage industry to track ownership

interests in residential mortgages. Mortgage lenders and other entities,

known as MERS members, subscribe to the MERS system and pay

annual fees for the electronic processing and tracking of ownership

and transfers of mortgages. Members contractually agree to appoint

MERS to act as their common agent on all mortgages they register

in the MERS system. [Emphasis added]

Thus, it is clear that MERS’s relationship with its member lenders is that of agent with the lender-principal. This is a fiduciary relationship, resulting from the manifestation of consent by one person to another, allowing the other to act on his behalf, subject to his control and consent. The principal is the one for whom action is to be taken, and the agent is the one who acts.It has been held that the agent, who has a fiduciary relationship with the principal, “is a party who acts on behalf of the principal with the latter’s express, implied, or apparent authority.” (Maurillo v Park Slope U-Haul, 194 AD2d 142, 146 [2d [*12]Dept 1992]). “Agents are bound at all times to exercise the utmost good faith toward their principals. They must act in accordance with the highest and truest principles of morality.” (Elco Shoe Mfrs. v Sisk, 260 NY 100, 103 [1932]). (See Sokoloff v Harriman Estates Development Corp., 96 NY 409 [2001]); Wechsler v Bowman, 285 NY 284 [1941]; Lamdin v Broadway Surface Advertising Corp., 272 NY 133 [1936]). An agent “is prohibited from acting in any manner inconsistent with his agency or trust and is at all times bound to exercise the utmost good faith and loyalty in the performance of his duties.” (Lamdin, at 136).

Thus, in the instant action, MERS, as nominee for DELTA, is DELTA’s agent for limited purposes. It only has those powers given to it and authorized by DELTA, its principal. Plaintiff HSBC failed to submit documents authorizing MERS, as nominee for DELTA, to assign the subject consolidation extension and modification mortgage to plaintiff HSBC. Therefore, MERS lacked authority to assign the TAHER mortgage, making the assignment defective. In Bank of New York v Alderazi (28 Misc 3d 376, 379-380 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010]), Justice Wayne Saitta instructed that:

A party who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden

of proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the evidence

(Lippincott v East River Mill & Lumber Co., 79 Misc 559 [1913])

and “[t]he declarations of an alleged agent may not be shown for

the purpose of proving the fact of agency.” (Lexow & Jenkins, P.C. v

Hertz Commercial Leasing Corp., 122 AD2d 25 [2d Dept 1986]; see

also Siegel v Kentucky Fried Chicken of Long Is. 108 AD2d 218 [2d

Dept 1985]; Moore v Leaseway Transp/ Corp., 65 AD2d 697 [1st Dept

1978].) “[T]he acts of a person assuming to be the representative of

another are not competent to prove the agency in the absence of evidence

tending to show the principal’s knowledge of such acts or assent to them.”

(Lexow & Jenkins, P.C. v Hertz Commercial Leasing Corp., 122 AD2d

at 26, quoting 2 NY Jur 2d, Agency and Independent Contractors § 26).

Further, several weeks ago, the Appellate Division, Second Department in Bank

of New York v Silverberg, (___ AD3d ___, 2011 NY Slip Op 05002 [June 7, 2011]), confronted the issue of “whether a party has standing to commence a foreclosure action when that party’s assignor—in this case, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter MERS)—was listed in the underlying mortgage instruments as a nominee and mortgagee for the purpose of recording, but was never the actual holder or assignee of the underlying notes.” The Court held, “[w]e answer this question in the negative.” Silverberg, similar to the instant TAHER matter, deals with the foreclosure of a mortgage with a consolidation, modification and extension agreement. MERS, in the Silverberg case and the instant TAHER action, never had title or possession of the Note and the definition of “Note Holder” is substantially the same in both consolidation, extension and [*13]modification agreements. The Silverberg Court instructed, at * 4-5:

the assignment of the notes was thus beyond MERS’s authority as

nominee or agent of the lender (see Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v

Weisblum, AD3d, 2011 NY Slip Op 04184, *6-7 [2d Dept 2011];

HSBC Bank USA v Squitteri, 29 Misc 3d 1225 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings

County, F. Rivera, J.]; ; LNV Corp. v Madison Real Estate, LLC,

2010 NY Slip Op 33376 [U] [Sup Ct, New York County 2010,

York, J.]; LPP Mtge. Ltd. v Sabine Props., LLC, 2010 NY Slip Op

32367 [U] [Sup Ct, New York County 2010, Madden, J.]; Bank of

NY v Mulligan, 28 Misc 3d 1226 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010,

Schack, J.]; One West Bank, F.S.B., v Drayton, 29 Misc 3d 1021

[Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Schack, J.]; Bank of NY v Alderazi,

28 Misc 3d 376, 379-380 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Saitta, J.]

[the “party who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden

of proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the evidence”];

HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings

County 2010, Schack, J.]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Vasquez, 24

Misc 3d 1239 [A], [Sup Ct, Kings County 2009, Schack, J.]; Bank of

NY v Trezza, 14 Misc 3d 1201 [A] [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006,

Mayer, J.]; La Salle Bank Natl. Assn. v Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A]

[Sup Ct, Suffolk County, 2006, Burke, J.]; Matter of Agard, 444 BR

231 [Bankruptcy Court, ED NY 2011, Grossman, J.]; but see U.S.

Bank N.A. v Flynn, 27 Misc 3d 802 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2011,

Whelan, J.]).

Moreover, the Silverberg Court concluded, at * 5, that “because MERS was never the lawful holder or assignee of the notes described and identified in the consolidation agreement, the . . . assignment of mortgage is a nullity, and MERS was without authority to assign the power to foreclose to the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff failed to show that it had standing to foreclose.” Further, Silverberg the Court observed, at * 6, “the law must not yield to expediency and the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of the rules that govern real property.” [Emphasis added]

Therefore, the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

Cancellation of subject notice of pendency

The dismissal with prejudice of the instant foreclosure action requires the

cancellation of the notice of pendency. CPLR § 6501 provides that the filing of a notice of pendency against a property is to give constructive notice to any purchaser of real property or encumbrancer against real property of an action that “would affect the title to, or the possession, use or enjoyment of real property, except in a summary proceeding [*14]brought to recover the possession of real property.” The Court of Appeals, in 5308 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp. (64 NY2d 313, 319 [1984]), commented that “[t]he purpose of the doctrine was to assure that a court retained its ability to effect justice by preserving its power over the property, regardless of whether a purchaser had any notice of the pending suit,” and, at 320, that “the statutory scheme permits a party to effectively retard the alienability of real property without any prior judicial review.”

CPLR § 6514 (a) provides for the mandatory cancellation of a notice of pendency by:

The Court, upon motion of any person aggrieved and upon such

notice as it may require, shall direct any county clerk to cancel

a notice of pendency, if service of a summons has not been completed

within the time limited by section 6512; or if the action has been

settled, discontinued or abated; or if the time to appeal from a final

judgment against the plaintiff has expired; or if enforcement of a

final judgment against the plaintiff has not been stayed pursuant

to section 551. [emphasis added]

The plain meaning of the word “abated,” as used in CPLR § 6514 (a) is the ending of an action. “Abatement” is defined as “the act of eliminating or nullifying.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 3 [7th ed 1999]). “An action which has been abated is dead, and any further enforcement of the cause of action requires the bringing of a new action, provided that a cause of action remains (2A Carmody-Wait 2d § 11.1).” (Nastasi v Natassi, 26 AD3d 32, 40 [2d Dept 2005]). Further, Nastasi at 36, held that the “[c]ancellation of a notice of pendency can be granted in the exercise of the inherent power of the court where its filing fails to comply with CPLR § 6501 (see 5303 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp., supra at 320-321; Rose v Montt Assets, 250 AD2d 451, 451-452 [1d Dept 1998]; Siegel, NY Prac § 336 [4th ed]).” Thus, the dismissal of the instant complaint must result in the mandatory cancellation of plaintiff HSBC’s notice of pendency against the property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Possible frivolous conduct by HSBC and its counsel

In this Court’s November 8, 2010 decision and order, Mr. Cassara and his firm, as counsel for plaintiff HSBC, were put on notice about the new affirmation required to be submitted by plaintiff’s counsel in foreclosure actions, pursuant to Administrative Order 548/10. In foreclosure cases pending on October 20, 2010, such as the TAHER case, the affirmation is required to be filed with the Court when moving for either an order of reference or a judgment of foreclosure and sale or five business days before a scheduled auction. Chief Judge Lippman, according to the Office of Court Administrations’s October 20, 2010 press release, stated that, “[t]his new filing requirement will play a vital role in ensuring that the documents judges rely on will be thoroughly examined, accurate, and error-free before any judge is asked to take the drastic step of foreclosure.”

Plaintiff’s counsel was warned that defects in foreclosure filings “include failure of plaintiffs and their counsel to review documents and files to establish standing and other [*15]foreclosure requisites; filing of notarized affidavits which falsely attest to such review and to other critical facts in the foreclosure process; and robosigning’ of documents by parties and counsel.” Mr. Cassara affirmed “under the penalties of perjury,” on January 6, 2011, to the factual accuracy of the complaint, the supporting documents and notarizations contained therein and that the complaint and papers filed with the Court in the TAHER matter “contain no false statements of fact or law.” Further, plaintiff’s counsel was informed that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause

for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel [Emphasis added].”

However, plaintiff HSBC did not have standing to bring the instant action and its

complaint is replete with false statements. For example, ¶ 1 alleges that HSBC has an office at “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, P.O. Box 24737, West Palm Beach, FL 33415.” This is actually OCWEN’s office. OCWEN’s zip code is 33409, not 33415. Also, how big is P.O. Box 24737? Is it big enough to contain an HSBC office? Further, ¶ 6 alleges that HSBC is the owner of the note, which it is not. MERS had no authority to assign the note owned by DELTA to HSBC. MERS was DELTA’s nominee for recording the TAHER-consolidated mortgage but it never possessed the underlying note. (See Bank of New York v Silverberg at * 4-5).

Three robosigners – Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter – are involved in this matter. Scott Anderson, who wears many corporate hats and has at least five variations of his initials scrawled on documents filed in this Court, is the alleged assignor of the subject mortgage and note to HSBC, despite lacking authority from DELTA. Both alleged assignor MERS and alleged assignee HSBC have the same address – 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida 33409. The milliner’s delight Margery Rotundo executed the affidavit of merit for OCWEN. Then, Mr. Cassara relied upon Christina Carter as the representative of HSBC to confirm the accuracy of HSBC’s documents and their notarizations. However, she is not employed by HSBC. Is Mr. Cassara aware of the robosigning history of Mr. Anderson, Ms. Rotundo and Ms. Carter?

Putting aside HSBC’s lack of standing, MERS allegedly assigned the TAHER- consolidated mortgage and note to HSBC 169 days after defendant TAHER allegedly defaulted in her payments. If HSBC has a duty to make money for its stockholders, why is it purchasing nonperforming loans, and then wasting the Court’s time with defective paperwork and the use of robosigners? The Courts have limited resources, even more so in light of the recent cuts in the budget for fiscal year 2012 and the layoff of several hundred court employees by the Office of Court Administration. The Courts cannot allow itself, as Chief Judge Lippman said in OCA’s October 20, 2010 press release, “to stand by idly and be party to what we know is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process involves basic human needs – such as a family home – during this period of economic crisis.” [*16]

Last year, in HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A], for a variety of reasons, I denied plaintiff’s renewed motion for an order of reference and dismissed the foreclosure action with prejudice. Plaintiff’s counsel in YeasminYeasmin, at * 8, that Mr. Westmoreland stated: submitted an affidavit by Thomas Westmoreland, Vice President of Loan Documentation for HSBC, in which he admitted to a lack of due diligence by HSBC. I observed in

in his affidavit, in ¶’s 4 – 7 and part of ¶ 10:

4. The secondary mortgage market is, essentially, the buying and

selling of “pools” of mortgages.

5. A mortgage pools is the packaging of numerous mortgage

loans together so that an investor may purchase a significant

number of loans in one transaction.

6. An investigation of each and every loan included in a particular

mortgage pool, however, is not conducted, nor is it feasible.

7. Rather, the fact that a particular mortgage pool may

include loans that are already in default is an ordinary risk

of participating in the secondary market . . .

10. . . . Indeed, the performance of the mortgage pool is the

measure of success, not any one individual loan contained

therein. [Emphasis added]

The Court can only wonder if . . . the dissemination of this

decision will result in Mr. Westmoreland’s affidavit used as evidence

in future stockholder derivative actions against plaintiff HSBC. It can’t

be comforting to investors to know that an officer of a financial

behemoth such as plaintiff HSBC admits that “[a]n investigation of

each and every loan included in a particular mortgage pool, however,

is not conducted, nor is it feasible” and that “the fact that a particular

mortgage pool may include loans that are already in default is an

ordinary risk of participating in the secondary market.

Therefore, the continuation of this action by plaintiff HSBC, with its false

statements of facts, the use of robosigners, and the disingenuous affirmation of Mr. Cassara, appears to be frivolous. 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a) states that “the Court, in its discretion may impose financial sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Subpart.” Further, it states in 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (b), that “sanctions may be imposed upon any attorney appearing in the action or upon a partnership, firm or corporation with which the attorney is associated.”

22 NYCRR § 130-1.1(c) states that:

For purposes of this part, conduct is frivolous if: [*17]

(1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported

by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or

reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of

the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false.

It is clear that the instant motion for an order of reference “is completely without merit in law” and “asserts material factual statements that are false.” Further, Mr. Cassara’s January 6, 2011 affirmation, with its false and defective statements may be a cause for sanctions.

Several years before the drafting and implementation of the Part 130 Rules for

costs and sanctions, the Court of Appeals (A.G. Ship Maintenance Corp. v Lezak, 69 NY2d 1, 6 [1986]) observed that “frivolous litigation is so serious a problem affecting the

proper administration of justice, the courts may proscribe such conduct and impose sanctions in this exercise of their rule-making powers, in the absence of legislation to the contrary (see NY Const, art VI, § 30, Judiciary Law § 211 [1] [b] ).”

Part 130 Rules were subsequently created, effective January 1, 1989, to give the

courts an additional remedy to deal with frivolous conduct. These stand beside Appellate Division disciplinary case law against attorneys for abuse of process or malicious prosecution. The Court, in Gordon v Marrone (202 AD2d 104, 110 [2d Dept 1994], lv denied 84 NY2d 813 [1995]), instructed that:

Conduct is frivolous and can be sanctioned under the court rule if

“it is completely without merit . . . and cannot be supported by a

reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of

existing law; or . . . it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong

the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure

another” (22 NYCRR 130-1.1[c] [1], [2] . . . ).

In Levy v Carol Management Corporation (260 AD2d 27, 33 [1st Dept 1999]) the Court stated that in determining if sanctions are appropriate the Court must look at the broad pattern of conduct by the offending attorneys or parties. Further, “22 NYCRR

130-1.1 allows us to exercise our discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party . . .” Levy at 34, held that “[s]anctions are retributive, in that they punish past conduct. They also are goal oriented, in that they are useful in deterring future frivolous conduct not only by the particular parties, but also by the Bar at large.”

The Court, in Kernisan, M.D. v Taylor (171 AD2d 869 [2d Dept 1991]), noted that the intent of the Part 130 Rules “is to prevent the waste of judicial resources and to deter vexatious litigation and dilatory or malicious litigation tactics (cf. Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Church of City of New York v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411; see Steiner v Bonhamer, 146 Misc 2d 10) [Emphasis added].” The instant action, with HSBC lacking standing and using robosigners, is “a waste of judicial resources.” This [*18]conduct, as noted in Levy, must be deterred. In Weinstock v Weinstock (253 AD2d 873 [2d Dept 1998]) the Court ordered the maximum sanction of $10,000.00 for an attorney who pursued an appeal “completely without merit,” and holding, at 874, that “[w]e therefore award the maximum authorized amount as a sanction for this conduct (see, 22 NYCRR 130-1.1) calling to mind that frivolous litigation causes a substantial waste of judicial resources to the detriment of those litigants who come to the Court with real grievances [Emphasis added].” Citing Weinstock, the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Bernadette Panzella, P.C. v De Santis (36 AD3d 734 [2d Dept 2007]) affirmed a Supreme Court, Richmond County $2,500.00 sanction, at 736, as “appropriate in view of the plaintiff’s waste of judicial resources [Emphasis added].”

In Navin v Mosquera (30 AD3d 883 [3d Dept 2006]) the Court instructed that when considering if specific conduct is sanctionable as frivolous, “courts are required to

examine whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent [or] should have been apparent’ (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c]).” The Court, in Sakow ex rel. Columbia Bagel, Inc. v Columbia Bagel, Inc. (6 Misc 3d 939, 943 [Sup Ct,

New York County 2004]), held that “[i]n assessing whether to award sanctions, the Court must consider whether the attorney adhered to the standards of a reasonable attorney (Principe v Assay Partners, 154 Misc 2d 702 [Sup Ct, NY County 1992]).”

In the instant action, plaintiff HSBC’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) bears a measure of responsibility for plaintiff’s actions, as well as plaintiff’s counsel. In Sakow at 943, the Court observed that “[a]n attorney cannot safely delegate all duties to others.” Irene M. Dorner, President and CEO of HSBC, is HSBC’s “captain of the ship.” She should not only take credit for the fruits of HSBC’s victories but must bear some responsibility for its defeats and mistakes. According to HSBC’s 2010 Form 10-K, dated December 31, 2010, and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on February 28, 2011, at p. 255, “Ms. Dorner’s insight and particular knowledge of HSBC USA’s operations are critical to an effective Board of Directors” and Ms. Dorner “has many years of experience in leadership positions with HSBC and extensive global experience with HSBC, which is highly relevant as we seek to operate our core businesses in support of HSBC’s global strategy.” HSBC needs to have a “global strategy” of filing truthful documents and not wasting the very limited resources of the Courts. For her responsibility she earns a handsome compensation package. According to the 2010 Form 10-k, at pp. 276-277, she earned in 2010 total compensation of $2,306,723. This included, among other things: a base salary of $566,346; a discretionary bonus of $760,417; and, other compensation such as $560 for financial planning and executive tax services; $40,637 for executive travel allowance, $24,195 for housing and furniture allowance, $39,399 for relocation expenses and $3,754 for executive physical and medical expenses.

Therefore, the Court will examine the conduct of plaintiff HSBC and plaintiff’s counsel, in a hearing, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, to determine if plaintiff HSBC, [*19]by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, engaged in frivolous conduct, and to allow plaintiff HSBC, by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC a reasonable opportunity to be heard.


Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the motion of plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, for an order of reference for the premises located at 931 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1632, Lot 57, County of Kings), is denied with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that because plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, lacks standing in this foreclosure action, the instant complaint, Index No. 9320/09 is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the Notice of Pendency filed with the Kings County Clerk on April 16, 2009 by plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, in an action to foreclose a mortgagefor real property located at 931 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1632, Lot 57, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged; and it is further

ORDERED, that it appearing that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1 (c), and that pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130.1.1 (d), “[a]n award of costs or the imposition of sanctions may be made . . . upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” this Court will conduct a hearing affording: plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, by its President and Chief Executive Officer, Irene M. Dorner; plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq.; and, his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC; “a reasonable opportunity to be heard” before me in Part 27, on Friday, July 15, 2011, at 2:30 P.M., in Room 479, 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; and it is further

ORDERED, that Ronald David Bratt, Esq., my Principal Law Clerk, is directed to serve this order by first-class mail, upon: Irene M. Dorner, President and Chief Executive Officer of plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST [*20]2007-2, 452 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10018; Frank M. Cassara, Esq., Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, 250 Mile Crossing Boulevard, Suite One, Rochester, New York 14624; and, Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, 250 Mile Crossing Boulevard, Suite One, Rochester, New York 14624.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.




Scott Anderson Signature Variance

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Maybe this will wipe that arrogant smirk off their faces. Again the investigations are renewed after it seemed they were giving up. Just as the financial regulatory agencies followed up an SEC settlement with Goldman, they all, including the SEC, started another barrage of subpoenas. Now the NY Attorney General is going the same thing, starting up anew after Andrew Cuomo, his predecessor, had dealt with the banks up to point that was good step in the right direction but fell far short of the relief needed and the restitution required.

The language of the world of prosecution has changed from “derivatives” to questionable securitization practices” signaling a large shift in the depth of their understanding of what happened and even whether the securitization of loans was and remains an illusion, leaving the homes free from encumbrance and the debts largely paid by bailout, insurance, guarantees and other hedge contracts.


BOTTOM LINE: The housing crisis could be over in twelve minutes and the budget deficit could be over in a year with a full economic recovery underway if we just stop listening to the spin of the megabanks, about how if we put them in jail the financial system will be crushed — and we start looking at real evidence about what really happened.

May 16, 2011

New York Investigates Banks’ Role in Fiscal Crisis


The New York attorney general has requested information and documents in recent weeks from three major Wall Street banks about their mortgage securities operations during the credit boom, indicating the existence of a new investigation into practices that contributed to billions in mortgage losses.

Officials in Eric T. Schneiderman’s, office have also requested meetings with representatives from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, according to people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly. The inquiry appears to be quite broad, with the attorney general’s requests for information covering many aspects of the banks’ loan pooling operations. They bundled thousands of home loans into securities that were then sold to investors such as pension funds, mutual funds and insurance companies.

It is unclear which parts of the byzantine securitization process Mr. Schneiderman is focusing on. His spokesman said the attorney general would not comment on the investigation, which is in its early stages.

Several civil suits have been filed by federal and state regulators since the financial crisis erupted in 2008, some of which have generated settlements and fines, most prominently a $550 million deal between Goldman Sachs and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But even more questions have been raised in private lawsuits filed against the banks by investors and others who say they were victimized by questionable securitization practices. Some litigants have contended, for example, that the banks dumped loans they knew to be troubled into securities and then misled investors about the quality of those underlying mortgages when selling the investments.

The possibility has also been raised that the banks did not disclose to mortgage insurers the risks in the instruments they were agreeing to insure against default. Another potential area of inquiry — the billions of dollars in credit extended by Wall Street to aggressive mortgage lenders that allowed them to continue making questionable loans far longer than they otherwise could have done.

“Part of what prosecutors have the advantage of doing right now, here as elsewhere, is watching the civil suits play out as different parties fight over who bears the loss,” said Daniel C. Richman, a professor of law at Columbia. “That’s a very productive source of information.”

Officials at Bank of America and Goldman Sachs declined to comment about the investigation; Morgan Stanley did not respond to a request for comment.

During the mortgage boom, Wall Street firms bundled hundreds of billions of dollars in home loans into securities that they sold profitably to investors. After the real estate bubble burst, the perception took hold that the securitization process as performed by the major investment banks contributed to the losses generated in the crisis.

Critics contend that Wall Street’s securitization machine masked the existence of risky home loans and encouraged reckless lending because pooling the loans and selling them off allowed many participants to avoid responsibility for the losses that followed.

The requests for information by Mr. Schneiderman’s office also seem to confirm that the New York attorney general is operating independently of peers from other states who are negotiating a broad settlement with large banks over foreclosure practices.

By opening a new inquiry into bank practices, Mr. Schneiderman has indicated his unwillingness to accept one of the settlement’s terms proposed by financial institutions — that is, a broad agreement by regulators not to conduct additional investigations into the banks’ activities during the mortgage crisis. Mr. Schneiderman has said in recent weeks that signing such a release was unacceptable.

It is unclear whether Mr. Schneiderman’s investigation will be pursued as a criminal or civil matter. In the last few months, the office’s staff has been expanding. In March, Marc B. Minor, former head of the securities division for the New Jersey attorney general, was named bureau chief of the investor protection unit in the New York attorney general’s office.

Early in the financial crisis, Andrew M. Cuomo, the governor of New York who preceded Mr. Schneiderman as attorney general, began investigating Wall Street’s role in the debacle. But those inquiries did not result in any cases filed against the major banks. Nevertheless, some material turned over to Mr. Cuomo’s investigators may turn out to be helpful to Mr. Schneiderman’s inquiry.

NY Issues More Subpoenas on Foreclosures

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“Raymond H. Brescia, assistant professor of law at Albany Law School, said: “We’re seeing a disproportionate number of cases in the foreclosure context where questionable filings have been made. I think it’s easy to say this is the largest and most wide-ranging fraud against the courts in the United States. Lawyers have to have a good-faith basis for the factual assertions they make to the court; they are responsible if they file pleadings that are baseless.”




  1. NO DEFAULT: First, we know that the mortgagee or beneficiary stated on the note and security instrument is NOT the party seeking foreclosure nearly all the time. Since this new party neither loaned any money nor did they purchase the receivable, there is no default as to THEM. And since these parties have no actual rights of agency or representation, neither the attorney nor the client belong in court. So they needed to create a default, even if the servicer was continuing to make payments to the creditor. That was untrue, so it follows that any documents declaring otherwise would also be untrue. They depended upon the obvious fact that the borrower had ceased making payments to carry the day, and it worked. Judges granted foreclosure and denied borrower defenses in an overwhelming majority of cases. It just didn’t seem credible that the banks would come in foreclosing on loans that didn’t exist, that the bank didn’t own, and that the lawyer and a foreclosure mill had cooked up fabricated and forged documents. Why would they do that? THERE WAS NO DEFAULT BECAUSE THE REAL CREDITOR CONTINUED TO GET PAID. AND THERE COULDN’T BE A DEFAULT, AS PER THE NOTE, BECAUSE THE NOTE WAS A FICTION DESCRIBING A TRANSACTION THAT NEVER TOOK PLACE.
  2. NO CREDITOR: It turns out that virtually none of the mortgages were funded by the party to whom the promissory note was made payable and that often MERS or some other entity was named as the holder of a security interest, thus splitting the note and security instrument. It also turns out that the lender was parting with his funds under a set of assumptions and representations that were never communicated to the borrower, not the least of which was the identity of the real lender or even that a real lender existed at all. Thus the original transaction in which the investor’s money was put to use, in part, to fund mortgages, some of which was to fund a specific loan was subject to documents (PSA, mortgage bond indenture, etc.) containing many provisions relating directly to the trail money, none of which were communicated to the borrower, or even that such documentation existed at all. The real creditor — the ONLY party that parted with money — is neither present in the courtroom nor do they want to be. They have chosen to sue the investment banking firms for selling them mortgage bonds that were fake — i.e., with nothing in the pool or some awkward argument for saying the loans should be “considered” to be in the pool even if they were not. Thus the foreclosures are initiated by disinterested parties out of greed — not to redress a loss that THEY had. Wall Street went along with the continuing PONZI scheme because it has given them more cover to scapegoat the foreclosure mills as being the cause of the mortgage mess.
  3. NO DOCUMENTS: “NO DOC” loans became “NO-DOC Foreclosures. The mortgage documents signed at “closing” recited a transaction that never occurred, while the real transaction and the real parties neither knew nor accepted the terms, much less in writing. The note and mortgage (deed of trust) are invalid, fatally defective from a title perspective without a new signature from the borrower on documents that reflect an actual agreement between borrower and lender.
  4. NO MONEY: The money for funding the mortgage was wired in to the closing agent bypassing the supposed “lender” at closing or using them as merely a fee-based service, conduit ( like a messenger). Any money paid by the borrower was paid not to the party named as payee on the note but to third parties who used the mere fact that a receivable existed to create exotic instruments that multiplied the apparent value of the receivables to nose bleed levels that could never be sustained. THEN they divided up the new proceeds after having already bilked the investors out of money to fund the non-existent loans, they bilked more investors and speculators on the viability of the exotic derivative instruments, whose value was entirely dependent on the value and enforceability of the note and security instrument named a “mortgage loan.”
  5. NO DEAL: There being no deal, no documentation and no money trail that the would-be foreclosers can or would disclose, they made up a whole set of “facts” (fabrication of documents) by describing a scheme that was different from the actual money transaction between borrower and lender, different from the securitization infrastructure that was originally laid out in the PSA, Assignment and Assumption Agreement, Prospectus etc. Naturally since these documents never existed before and did not reflect the the terms originally understood by borrower and lender, they needed forgery by $10 per hour robo-signers. So what we have here is THREE DIFFERENT DEALS — THE REAL ONE REFLECTED BY THE EXCHANGE OF MONEY, THE COVER DEAL WHICH WAS THE ORIGINAL SECURITIZATION SCHEME THAT NOBODY FOLLOWED, AND THE FABRICATED AND FORGED DOCUMENT SCHEME IN WHICH WOULD-BE FORECLOSERS ATTEMPTED TO CONFORM THE DOCUMENTS TO THE EVIDENCE THEY EITHER CREATED OR COULD NOT AVOID.

New York Subpoenas 2 Foreclosure-Related Firms


Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, has issued subpoenas to the state’s largest foreclosure law firm and a related company, indicating that his office has some doubts about the effort by state attorneys general to resolve questionable foreclosure practices among the nation’s top banks.

The New York investigation appears to center on two of the state’s foreclosure industry giants: the Steven J. Baum firm, headquartered in Amherst, N.Y., and Pillar Processing, a default servicing firm set up by Mr. Baum that was spun off in 2007. Representing JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other large banks, the Baum firm has handled an estimated 40 percent of foreclosure cases in the state. Pillar Processing provides extensive services to the firm.

A spokesman for Mr. Schneiderman declined to comment. Mr. Baum said in an e-mail: “The firm will cooperate with the attorney general in this matter. We are confident that after a full review by the attorney general they will find no wrongdoing.”

Attorneys general across the country have been working on ways to rectify foreclosure improprieties by the nation’s biggest banks and have entered into negotiations in recent weeks with these institutions about a national settlement. Tom Miller of Iowa is leading that effort. While Mr. Schneiderman has been participating, his new investigation points to the possibility that he will take a different path.

Large foreclosure law firms have come under scrutiny in states outside New York. Last year, the Florida attorney general began investigating the David J. Stern firm, the largest in that state. That investigation is continuing, but the law firm stopped bringing foreclosure cases last month.

Like the Stern firm, Mr. Baum’s operation flourished as the mortgage crisis deepened. Since the end of 2007, it has filed more than 50,000 new foreclosure cases in New York, according to data compiled by the New York State Unified Court System. The firm employs approximately 70 lawyers.

Along with the attorney general, federal prosecutors in Manhattan have requested information about the Baum firm’s practices, according to a lawyer who has represented borrowers against the firm. The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity because the communications with the prosecutors were private. A spokesman for the Department of Justice declined to comment.

Scrutiny of the Baum firm has increased in recent months after significant errors surfaced nationwide in legal paperwork used by banks to seize delinquent borrowers’ homes. For example, documents detailing how much borrowers owe have been signed by bank representatives who say they have not verified the information. Other problems involve the questionable notarization of documents, or paperwork indicating that the foreclosure process was begun without providing proof that the entities involved had the legal right to foreclose.

The Baum firm has drawn rebukes on its legal practices from judges in several New York jurisdictions. Judges in courts across the state have rejected scores of cases filed by the Baum firm, saying it has failed to provide the documentation necessary to commence foreclosure.

Last November, Judge Scott Fairgrieve in Nassau County district court imposed sanctions of $5,000 on the Baum firm in a foreclosure case and required it to pay more than $14,000 in fees to the borrower’s lawyers. When awarding the sanctions, the judge wrote: “Bringing legal proceedings when there is no legal right to do so, due to lack of standing, stalls the efficient administration of justice in the system.”

Paul D. Stone, a lawyer in Tarrytown, N.Y., has been defending a foreclosure case against the Baum firm since 2009. “I’ve never seen any firm file such ill-conceived, ill-researched, nonfactual materials with a court,” Mr. Stone said. The judge overseeing his case recently ordered Mr. Baum’s firm to pay some of the borrower’s legal costs.

Hoping to eliminate defective filings, last fall New York courts began requiring lawyers bringing foreclosure cases to attest to the accuracy of their papers.

The Baum firm was founded in 1972 by Marvin R. Baum and has been overseen by Steven J. Baum, his son, since the elder man died in 1999.

Steven Baum created Pillar Processing in 2007, a provider of real estate default services, and it is located in the same office complex in Amherst as the law firm. Pillar was purchased in 2007 by Tailwind Capital, a New York hedge fund; some of Pillar’s debt and equity is also held by Ares Capital, a publicly traded investment company in New York City. Representatives of Tailwind did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. An Ares spokesman declined to comment.

Pillar Processing’s default servicing practices have attracted criticism from Cecelia G. Morris, bankruptcy judge in the Southern District of New York. In a court hearing on Feb. 5, 2008, Judge Morris said she would no longer accept any material from Pillar Processing in her court and added that if more paperwork from Pillar came in, she would deny the motions associated with it.

Linda M. Tirelli, a lawyer in White Plains who represents homeowners, discussed three current foreclosure cases in which she faces the Baum firm. “The documents don’t make sense in any of them,” she said. In another foreclosure being defended by Ms. Tirelli, a lawyer for the bank told the court that the Baum firm had filed inaccurate documents as it sought to take over a borrower’s property. After trying unsuccessfully to find every link in the chain of title on the property, the Baum firm prepared inaccurate papers to fill in what was missing, according to court documents.

Speaking generally and not specifically about the Baum firm, Raymond H. Brescia, assistant professor of law at Albany Law School, said: “We’re seeing a disproportionate number of cases in the foreclosure context where questionable filings have been made. I think it’s easy to say this is the largest and most wide-ranging fraud against the courts in the United States. Lawyers have to have a good-faith basis for the factual assertions they make to the court; they are responsible if they file pleadings that are baseless.”

New York to Assure Legal Aid in Foreclosure Cases




New York court officials outlined procedures Tuesday aimed at assuring that all homeowners facing foreclosure were represented by a lawyer, a significant shift that could give thousands of families a chance to strike a better deal with lenders.

Yana Paskova for The New York Times

Jonathan Lippman, New York’s chief judge, wants all homeowners facing foreclosure in the state to have legal representation.

Criminal defendants are guaranteed a lawyer, but New York will be the first state to try to extend that pledge to foreclosures, which are civil matters. There are about 80,000 active foreclosure cases in New York courts.

Under the procedures, which will be put in place in Queens and Orange Counties in the next few weeks and then across the entire state, any homeowner in foreclosure who does not have a lawyer will be supplied one by legal aid groups or other volunteer groups.

New York has been successful in getting foreclosure defendants to show up at settlement meetings overseen by a judge and attended by the lender, but most are unassisted and have little idea how to proceed. The cases are overwhelming the courts.

The state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, said the current system was “such an uneven playing field.”

“Banks wind up with the property and the homeowner winds up over the cliff, on the street,” Judge Lippman said. “It doesn’t serve anyone’s interest, including the bank’s.”

Legal aid groups will find the task of representing foreclosure defendants easier if the state legislature agrees to Judge Lippman’s request for a $100 million increase in legal services programs spread over the next four years. Current funding for legal services in the state is about $200 million a year drawn from a variety of public and private sources.

New York, which is one of the 23 states where foreclosures must be overseen by a judge, has been more aggressive than most in trying to reshape the housing cases flooding its courts. Lawyers in New York are now personally liable for the accuracy of the documents they represent in foreclosure cases, a requirement that some find onerous.

Legal aid organizations in the 23 states say that they do not have enough money or lawyers to help everyone who wants to be helped. New Mexico has started classes to help train people to represent themselves in court. Legal aid groups in other states are forced to choose among families, helping some but not others.

The Legal Aid Society, which assists families and individuals in New York City, will be working with the courts to supply the necessary lawyers in Queens, a foreclosure hotbed.

“There’s a huge demand,” said Steven Banks, the society’s attorney in chief. “The new model is focused on redeploying resources to attempt to take more of an early intervention in the case rather than at the 11th hour when the sheriff is on the way.”

Judge Lippman said he hoped that the lawyers would reach out to defendants before they even appeared in court.

Citing the 1963 ruling by the United States Supreme Court that state courts are required by the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases to defendants who cannot afford their own, Mr. Lippman said in an interview this was the right moment to extend that provision.

“Today it is an equally obvious truth that people in civil cases dealing with the necessities of life can’t get a fair day in court without a lawyer,” he said.

JUDGE SCHACK| Dismisses Case With Prejudice Against Citibank Due To Counsel Failure To Comply

JUDGE SCHACK| Dismisses Case With Prejudice Against Citibank Due To Counsel Failure To Comply – 2011-01-11 11:33:03-05
Citibank, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR CERTIFICATEHOLDERS OF BEAR STEARNS ASSET BACKED SECURITIES TRUST 2007-SD3, ASSET BACKED CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2007-SD3, Plaintiff, against Santiago Murillo, et. al., Defendants 16214/08 Plaintiff: Megan B. Szeliga, Esq. and Jenneifer M. MCann, Esq., Steven J. Baum, P.C., Amherst, NY Defendant: Paul E. Kerson, Esq., Leavitt, Kerson and Duane, Forest Hills, NY Arthur M. Schack, […]


JUDGE SCHACK| Dismisses Case With Prejudice Against Citibank Due To Counsel Failure To Comply

JUDGE SCHACK| Dismisses Case With Prejudice Against Citibank Due To Counsel Failure To Comply



Santiago Murillo, et. al., Defendants


Plaintiff: Megan B. Szeliga, Esq. and Jenneifer M. MCann, Esq., Steven J. Baum, P.C., Amherst, NY

Defendant: Paul E. Kerson, Esq., Leavitt, Kerson and Duane, Forest Hills, NY

Arthur M. Schack, J.


The failure of plaintiff’s counsel, Steven J. Baum, P.C., to comply with two court orders, my November 4, 2010 order and Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s October 20, 2010 order, demonstrates delinquent conduct by Steven J. Baum, P.C. This mandates the dismissal with prejudice of the instant action. Failure to comply with court-ordered time frames must be taken seriously. It cannot be ignored. There are consequences for ignoring court orders. Recently, on December 16, 2010, the Court of Appeals, in Gibbs v St. Barnabas Hosp. (___NY3d ___, 2010 NY Slip Op 09198), instructed, at *5:



Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 16214/08, is dismissed with

prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED that the Notice of Pendency in this action, filed with the Kings

County Clerk on June 5, 2008, by plaintiff, CITIBANK, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR

CERTIFICATEHOLDERS OF BEAR STEARNS ASSET BACKED SECURITIES TRUST 2007-SD3, ASSET BACKED CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2007-SD3 to foreclose on a mortgage for real property located at 41 Hill Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4165, Lot 40, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.


J. S. C.


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Neil F Garfield, Esq.

Judge Arthur Schack, left, of New York State Supreme Court, called one filing “outrageous.” Jonathan Lippman, the state’s chief judge, says lawyers must ask clients if their paperwork is sound

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times





Judge Pfau said, “If you can’t get good information, you shouldn’t be filing the cases in the first place.”

[COLLATERAL BENEFIT FROM VIOLATION OF RULE OF LAW — FREE HOUSE] “One case involved Sunny D. Eng, a former manager of computer systems on Wall Street. He and his wife, who has cancer, stopped paying the mortgage on their Holtsville, N.Y., home after Mr. Eng’s Internet services business foundered. The mortgage was originally held by the HTFC Corporation, but the foreclosure notice came from Wells Fargo, a bank that the Engs had no relationship with. They hired an experienced foreclosure defense lawyer on Long Island, Craig Robins. The court ultimately ruled in favor of Mr. Eng.”

“the courts in New York State, along with Florida, have begun requiring that lawyers in foreclosure cases vouch for the accuracy of the documents they present, which prompted a protest from the New York bar. The requirement, which is being considered by courts in other states, could open lawyers to disciplinary actions that could harm or even end careers.”

“When the consequence of a lawyer plying his trade is the loss of someone’s home, and it turns out there are documents being given to the courts that have no basis in reality, the profession gets a very big black eye,” Professor Gillers said.

EDITOR’S COMMENT: Remember your goal is to establish contact with the true creditor. That is the only party WITH WHOM you CAN settle, mediate or modify your documents and obligation. Winning these cases merely means that you knocked out the intermediaries who had no right to enforce the obligation, note or mortgage in the first place.

That still leaves the true creditor. If the creditor chooses not to come forward because they are afraid of counterclaims and defenses for predatory lending and fraud, then the FREE HOUSE is merely a collateral benefit resulting from applying the rule of law.

Your object should NOT be in form or substance the pursuit of a FREE HOUSE. Your object, as the Judge must perceive you in order for you to win, is to CLEAN HOUSE.

Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures


With judges looking ever more critically at home foreclosures, they are reaching beyond the bankers to heap some of their most scorching criticism on the lawyers.

In numerous opinions, judges have accused lawyers of processing shoddy or even fabricated paperwork in foreclosure actions when representing the banks.

Judge Arthur M. Schack of New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn has taken aim at an upstate lawyer, Steven J. Baum, referring to one filing as “incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous.”

But New York judges are also trying to take the lead in fixing the mortgage mess by leaning on the lawyers. In November, a judge ordered Mr. Baum’s firm to pay nearly $20,000 in fines and costs related to papers that he said contained numerous “falsities.” The judge, Scott Fairgrieve of Nassau County District Court, wrote that “swearing to false statements reflects poorly on the profession as a whole.”

More broadly, the courts in New York State, along with Florida, have begun requiring that lawyers in foreclosure cases vouch for the accuracy of the documents they present, which prompted a protest from the New York bar. The requirement, which is being considered by courts in other states, could open lawyers to disciplinary actions that could harm or even end careers.

Stephen Gillers, an expert in legal ethics at New York University, agreed with Judge Fairgrieve that the involvement of lawyers in questionable transactions could damage the overall reputation of the legal profession, “which does not fare well in public opinion” throughout history.

“When the consequence of a lawyer plying his trade is the loss of someone’s home, and it turns out there are documents being given to the courts that have no basis in reality, the profession gets a very big black eye,” Professor Gillers said.

The issue of vouching for documents will undoubtedly meet resistance by lawyers elsewhere as it has in New York.

Anne Reynolds Copps, the chairwoman of the real property law section of the New York State bar, said, “We had a lot of concerns, because it seemed to paint attorneys as being the problem.” Lawyers feared they would be responsible for a bank’s mistakes. “They are relying on a client, or the client’s employees, to provide the information on which they are basing the documents,” she said.

The role of lawyers is under scrutiny in the 23 states where foreclosures must be reviewed by a court. The situation has become especially heated for high-volume firms whose practices mirror the so-called robo-signing of some financial institutions; in these cases, documents were signed without sufficient examination or proper notarization.

In the most publicized example, David J. Stern, a lawyer whose Florida firm has been part of an estimated 20 percent of the foreclosure actions in the state, has been accused of filing sloppy and even fraudulent mortgage paperwork. Major institutions have dropped the firm, which has been the subject of several lawsuits, and 1,200 of the 1,400 people once at the firm are out of work.

The Florida attorney general’s office is conducting a civil investigation of Mr. Stern’s firm and two others.

“There’s been no determination” in a court that Mr. Stern or his employees “did wrong things, said Jeffrey Tew, Mr. Stern’s lawyer, adding that the impact was nevertheless devastating.

“There are groups in society that everybody likes to hate,” Mr. Tew added. “Now foreclosure lawyers are on the list.”

Such concerns have, in recent months, brought a sharp focus on activities in New York State, and in particular on the practice of Mr. Baum, a lawyer in Amherst, outside Buffalo. Judges have cited his firm for what they call slipshod work that, in some cases, was followed by the dismissal of foreclosure actions.

One case involved Sunny D. Eng, a former manager of computer systems on Wall Street. He and his wife, who has cancer, stopped paying the mortgage on their Holtsville, N.Y., home after Mr. Eng’s Internet services business foundered. The mortgage was originally held by the HTFC Corporation, but the foreclosure notice came from Wells Fargo, a bank that the Engs had no relationship with. They hired an experienced foreclosure defense lawyer on Long Island, Craig Robins. The court ultimately ruled in favor of Mr. Eng.

“You want to call it God, you can call it God,” Mr. Eng said. “You want to call it luck, you can call it luck. We just followed the system, and thank God the system worked.”

Through a spokesman, Mr. Baum said, “The foreclosure process in New York State is extremely complex and subject to extensive judicial review. We believe this review respects the due process of anyone who challenges a foreclosure. Consumer activists and attorneys representing homeowners have their own agenda in this process, including degrading the legal work we conduct on behalf of our clients by using terms like ’foreclosure mill,’ which I find personally and professionally insulting.”

He added, “What is important now is that all parties attempt to work together to resolve issues amicably. The barrage of accusations and litigation does little to help the underlying problems.”

Cases across the nation like Mr. Eng’s have led New York’s judicial system to take a hard look at the 80,000 pending foreclosures in the state and demand that the paperwork be sound, said the state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman. “Knowing what we know, our only option — at least from my perspective — is to turn to the lawyers who are officers of the court and say, ’You’d better go to your clients and find out if these cases are real,’ ” he said.

The court devised a two-page affirmation to be signed by lawyers in foreclosure actions saying they had reviewed the documents and had “confirmed the factual accuracy” of any allegations with the clients.

Ann Pfau, deputy chief administrative judge for New York State, who has worked directly with the state bar to carry out the plan, said, “We need to know that this is a court process that has some integrity.”

Judge Pfau said, “If you can’t get good information, you shouldn’t be filing the cases in the first place.”

To address some lawyer concerns, the judiciary issued a modified version of the affirmation in November but said that the alterations were minor. In the end, the lawyers are vouching for their filing, Judge Pfau said. “They are absolutely still on the hook.”

While lawyers are being implicated as part of the problem, they should also be part of the solution, said Stephen P. Younger, the president of the New York State Bar Association, which has not taken an overall position on the foreclosure matter. Foreclosure defense lawyers, he noted, have led court proceedings to throw out flawed cases.

“The real problem is that there are thousands and thousands of people who are unrepresented by lawyers,” Mr. Younger said.


submitted by Barbara



COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary


Editor’s Note: I usually advise lawyers that from the very first word that opposing counsel utters, an objection ought to be raised, because it is all a lie. A “living lie.” From the moment he states his name and then says whom he represents, you ought to have something on hand that questions the validity of whether he actually represents the party upon whose behalf he says he is making his appearance. It is usually in the rules that you can demand proof of authority to represent. I know of a few cases that ended up dismissed on those grounds alone because the attorney never came back, never called back and never filed anything.

The way you win these cases is by forming the intent to win it. You can’t form that intent unless you believe it. Believe it! These are all impostors, pretenders and people out to make a buck at the expense of the Court and your client. Don’t get lost in their narrative.

Remember that besides the monthly payment issue, you have a right to seek modification or settlement or to ask for an evidentiary hearing on the amount required for redemption — that requires an accounting from the creditor. How are you going to do that with the wrong party standing in the courtroom and a lawyer who does not even represent anyone? Judges are  latching on to this argument, because it makes sense to them. They are not absolving your client of liability but they will force the issue, and make sure the real deciders are present IF YOU AGGRESSIVELY PURSUE IT.

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK Tears up WaMU’s Counsel For “Defective Verification, Phony NY House Counsel” WAMU v. PHILLIP

Posted on02 December 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK Tears up WaMU’s Counsel For “Defective Verification, Phony NY House Counsel” WAMU v. PHILLIP

Washington Mut. Bank v Phillip
2010 NY Slip Op 52034(U)
Decided on November 29, 2010
Supreme Court, Kings County
Schack, J.


Further, the verification of the complaint was not executed by an officer of WAMU, but by Benita Taylor, a “Research Support Analyst of Washington Mutual Bank, the plaintiff in the within action” a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, on June 4, 2008. This is the same day that Ms. Maio claims to have communicated with “Mark Phelps, Esq., House Counsel.” I checked the Office of Court Administration’s Attorney Registry and found that Mark Phelps is not now nor has been an attorney registered in the State of New York. Moreover, the Court does not know what “House” employs Mr. Phelps. [*5]

Both Mr. Phelps and Ms. Maio should have discovered the defects in Ms. Taylor’s verification of the subject complaint. The jurat states that the verification was executed in the State of New York and the County of Suffolk [the home county of plaintiff’s counsel], but the notary public who took the signature is Deborah Yamaguichi, a Florida notary public, not a New York notary public. Thus, the verification lacks merit and is a nullity. Further, Ms. Yamaguchi’s notarization states that Ms. Taylor’s verification was “Sworn to and subscribed before me this 4th day of June 2008.” Even if the jurat properly stated that it was executed in the State of Florida and the County of Duval, where Jacksonville is located, the oath failed to have a certificate required by CPLR


Ms. Maio should have consulted with a representative or representatives of plaintiff WAMU or is successors subsequent to receiving my November 9, 2010 order, not referring back to an alleged June 4, 2008 communication with “House Counsel.” Affirmations by plaintiff’s counsel in foreclosure actions, pursuant to Chief Administrative Judge Ann t. Pfau’s October 20, 2010 Administrative Order, mandates in foreclosure actions prospective communication by plaintiff’s counsel with plaintiff’s representative or representatives to prevent the widespread insufficiencies now found in foreclosure filings, such as: failure to review files to establish standing; filing of notarized affidavits that falsely attest to such review, and, “robosigning: of documents.

J Shack Goes Public — See the Interview Here and Mother Jones Analysis

Judge Shack NY Judge and Andy Kroll Mother Jones

This video, while it doesn’t cover the issues of the actual default and mitigation payments, covers most of the issues confronting homeowners. By going public J Shack is doing as much as he can as a sitting Judge to alert other Judges to the problem — they are making a mistake when they accept the lawyers’ representations, the affidavits, assignments, endorsements etc. In doing so, they are contributing to what will be called the GREAT TITLE MELTDOWN in addition to the obvious injustice of foreclosing on homes on which the obligation has already been paid or mitigated.

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